Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Aliyah (Hebrew: עלייה Translit.: ʿAliyah Translated: "ascent") is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It is one of the most basic tenets of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida ("descent"). The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile. Large scale immigration to Eretz Israel and later Israel began in 1882. Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means "ascent," or "going up." According to Jewish tradition, traveling to the Land of Israel is an ascent, both geographically and metaphysically. Anyone traveling to Eretz Israel from Egypt, Babylonia or the Mediterranean basin, where many Jews lived in early rabbinic times, climbed to a higher altitude. Visiting Jerusalem, situated 2,700 feet above sea level, was also an "ascent" .