Yom HaAliyah

Yom HaAliyah

Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) (Hebrew: יום העלייה‎) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan and also observed on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, to commemorate the historic events of the Jewish People entering the Land of Israel as written in the Bible, which happened on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan (Hebrew: י' ניסן‎).[1] The holiday was established to acknowledge Aliyah, immigration to the Jewish state, as a core value of the State of Israel, and honor the ongoing contributions of Olim ("immigrants") to Israeli society.[2]

Yom HaAliyah, as a modern holiday celebration, began in 2012 as a grassroots community initiative and young Olim movement in Tel Aviv, spearheaded by the TLV Internationals organization of the Am Yisrael Foundation.[3] On June 21, 2016 the Twentieth Knesset voted in favor of codifying the grassroots initiative into law by officially adding Yom HaAliyah to the Israeli national calendar.[4] The Yom HaAliyah bill[5] was co-sponsored by Knesset members from different parties in a rare instance of cooperation across the political spectrum of the opposition and coalition.[6] Among those who worked on the Yom HaAliyah bill were Miki Zohar of Likud, Hilik Bar of Israeli Labor Party, and Michael Oren of Kulanu.[7] Similar bills were proposed in other failed forms by Members of Knesset in previous Knesset sessions; Yoel Razvozov, Robert Ilatov, Avraham Neguise, Gila Gamliel, and Ya'akov Katz.[8]

The original day chosen for Yom HaAliyah, the tenth of Nisan, is laden with symbolism. On that day, according to the biblical narrative in the Book of Joshua, Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River at Gilgal into the Promised Land while carrying the Ark of the Covenant. It was thus the first documented "mass Aliyah."[9]