Run by believers, the Aliyah Return Center (ARC), previously located in Tiberias, recently joined forces with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the organization responsible nationally for Aliyah and Absorption.
The two groups teamed up recently in a new, larger center located south of the Sea of Galilee, on the east side of the Jordan River.
Both organizations “coincidentally” were exploring the same premises for the same purpose and so, at the suggestion of Kibbutz Beit Zera (House of Seed) which owns the 15-acre site, they have now formed a strategic partnership that brings together the financial and volunteer resources of the Christian world with the official channels and resources of the Israeli government.
The Jewish Agency allocates new immigrants to the center and its programs while the ARC provides volunteer and support services.
“Our model is unconditional love,” ARC Director of Operations Chaim Malespin told KNI. “Aliyah Resource Center is an indigenous Israeli expression of love for new immigrants. It is not a religious institution of any kind.”
Malespin understands the need for unconditional love for new olim (immigrants) to Israel. Brought up in a Jewish family of eight, the Malespins made aliyah (immigration to Israel) from the United States in 1999, when he was 15. Malespin experienced the challenges of moving from the West to the Middle East firsthand.
“It was hard to adjust, hard to learn the language, hard to join the army,” he recalled. “The Middle East is a very different world!”
Some told him to “toughen up,” insensitive to the challenges and even abuses, such as working for an Arab boss for just 7 shekels ($2) an hour, in one of the most expensive countries in the world. What he actually needed, Malespin said, was unconditional love.
However, an Israeli Jew who believes in Yeshua, Malespin persevered and, with God’s help, he overcame.
Malespin was brought up as a pacifist, making the prospect of army service awkward. However, he discovered that defending the defenseless is entirely a biblical concept. Upon enlisting he decided he would take the first unit which came along and expect just mundane tasks. However, he was invited to join an elite group of combat engineers that accepted him because he was a team player and willing to help others. Now Malespin has a unique set of skills and deals with, among other things, terror tunnels.
“That time really helped me to integrate into society, helped my Hebrew. We formed a close knit team which is still connected today,” he said.
After leaving the army, Malespin toyed with the idea of climbing the corporate ladder or creating his own company. He joined a business for awhile and got married. However, he also attended a college to study diplomacy and strategy, which gave him a clear understanding of where Israel stands and what it needs practically and prophetically.
“Many people in world do not know their prophetic obligation to Israel,” he said.
Malespin thus felt that he must equip believers around the world to play a part in fulfilling prophecy concerning Jewish “return and restoration” — scriptural lingo for “aliyah and absorption.” ARC is a practical application of that goal.
The center is located at latitude 32 degrees and 41.00 minutes. Interestingly, Jeremiah 32:41, in the context of gathering the Jewish people “from all the lands,” is the only verse in the Bible where God says he will do something with his whole “heart and soul,” ARC leaders note.
“I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”
The center is also located at longitude 35 degrees and 34.00 minutes north. Exodus 35:34 speaks of skilled craftsmen offering their talents in God’s service. Many such skilled Christian volunteers come from various nations inspired by the biblical mandate to help returning Jews.
Center Director Dean Bye updated us on ARC’s progress. Some immigrants are already housed, but they are preparing to receive 350 from all around the world.
“We are serving the Jewish Agency in making that happen,” Bye said. “We want to teach the nations about aliyah, what God is doing in this hour and how to be part of the program. There is a prophetic part for Christians to play and to do it out of an expression of unconditional love, which is the application of the theological truths.”
Bye, also of Return Ministries of Canada, emphasized that proselytization is not part of the mandate. He explained that most Christians who visit Israel come to Galilee and that the ARC is there to meet them with a welcome center and a relevant teaching program.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘See, I will beckon to the nations,
I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
and carry your daughters on their hips.’”