Israel & Middle East
HIAS grants scholarships for immigrants (olim) who recently have immigrated to the Jewish state; assists with Israeli government and UNHCR efforts to protect refugees arriving from Africa and elsewhere; and runs programs in the region to protect, assist – and, in many cases – resettle refugees and migrants of all faiths and ethnicities.
Before there was a state of Israel, HIAS had been helping Jews immigrate to Palestine as early as 1927. In 1948, when the State of Israel was established, HIAS contributed $500,000 to the new Israeli government to transport Jewish refugees there and built HIAS House, a dormitory for new Jewish immigrant laborers in Beersheva. HIAS House today is part of Ben Gurion University of the Negev. HIAS established its Israel office in 1950 assisting large waves of olim in their arrival, absorption, and integration into Israeli society.
Today, HIAS continues its commitment to support olim through activities that benefit individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole. HIAS also provides information about issues that impact migrants in Israel, such as the recent violence against asylum seekers in southern Tel Aviv.
For over twenty years, HIAS has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to the education of olim through scholarships. Each year, HIAS Israeli scholarships help scores of promising new Israelis fulfill their educational dreams.
The scholarship competition is open to olim from all countries. To be awarded a scholarship, students must show educational excellence, financial need, and a demonstrated commitment to community work.
Education for Refugees in Israel
HIAS Israel works closely with The Schoolhouse, a program that offers education for adult refugees and other communities in migration in Israel. It is led by a paid staff of teachers and a team of volunteers with specialized backgrounds in education, social services, and organizational development.
Classes currently focus on English language, computer and study skills, and preparation for higher education. The curriculum in development will address students' practical day-to-day needs and focus on skills that could be relevant in their countries of origin. While most students pay a fee, all are welcome regardless of financial status. Visit The Schoolhouse on Facebook for more information, or support the program by donating to The Schoolhouse in Israel.
Refugee Law Education
In Israel, as around the world, HIAS is committed to the development of humane refugee laws and systems. In 2001, we established the first-ever refugee law course in Israel and in 2003, we co-formed the first Israeli refugee law clinic. Established at Tel Aviv University's Buchman Law Faculty, the clinic is today the premier institution of refugee law knowledge and expertise in Israel.
HIAS has been working closely with the Israel Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the UNHCR to train MOI personnel to fully assume the responsibilities of Refugee Status Determination in Israel.
During our 59 years in Israel, HIAS has always placed a priority on aliyah and rescue.
Early operations focused on Europe's displaced Jews, most of them survivors of Holocaust. Later efforts focused on the Jews of North Africa. When a response was needed to the plight of Ethiopia's Jews, HIAS rushed in, helping bring thousands to their unforgotten ancestral homeland, by playing an important role in “Operation Moses” and “Operation Solomon.”
Today, this rescue work continues, with HIAS responding to the needs of Jews and others in the region on an individual, family, or group basis.