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Amid growing turmoil in Venezuela, surge in immigration to Israel seen for 2017

JERUSALEM, Aug. 21 – Responding to a spike in interest from Venezuelan Jews about moving to Israel as their country’s political instability intensifies, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), which is the only local organization helping Venezuelan Jews immigrate to Israel, yesterday launched a special hotline for the community to provide around-the-clock access to more information about the process.

The Fellowship, funded by millions of Christians in North America and around the world, opened a Facebook chat line today after seeing a “significant increase” in the numbers of inquiries from local Jews about moving to Israel. The chat line will operate 18 hours per day, while a local staff person in Caracas will field phone calls during the other six hours daily.

“The Venezuelan Jewish community is increasingly feeling threatened and people are suffering financially,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president. “More and more Venezuelan Jews are asking us about starting new lives in Israel, and we promise to help them make the journey to their Jewish homeland, and stay with them every step of the way.”

Over the past 18 months, The Fellowship has brought 153 Venezuelan Jews to Israel, including two flights in July with 26 people. Another flight is scheduled for today, with four immigrants. The Fellowship originally expected to bring another 50 Jews to Israel from Venezuela by year’s end, but is now expecting to double that amount, to an additional 100 immigrants by year’s end, and bring even more in 2018.

The Venezuelan-Jewish community has not escaped the impact of the country’s volatile conditions. Some 700 Jewish families in the capital of Caracas receive communal charitable assistance, while The Fellowship has been supplying medicine to the Jewish community in Venezuela as well.

Following a failed military coup attempt against the Maduro government more than two weeks ago, and the firing of the country’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, Rabbi Eckstein redoubled The Fellowship’s pledge to help any Venezuelan Jew who wants to move to Israel.

The Fellowship pays for each family’s transportation to Israel, and provides each adult with $800 and each child with $400, on top of the Israeli government’s support for all new immigrants. The Fellowship also provides a variety of other support services for new immigrants immediately upon their arrival, including in-home visits to review their needs and provide aid for such needs as food, appliances, furniture, day-care, vocational training, and even dental care, to help them start their new lives.

About The Fellowship:

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide – and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.4 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul. For more information, visit


For further details, contact: Ryan Greiss, Puder PR, New York: (212) 558-9400; [email protected]

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