Arutz Sheva met with Yeshayahu Yechieli, the director of the NAALE Elite-Academy program, as he greeted new participants.
The NAALE program, which was established in 1992 as a joint initiative of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Education, invites Jewish high school students from around the world to study and to finish high school in Israel. The program is fully subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
“NAALE is a program for studying, first of all, and when the program concludes after three or four years, [the students] can decide whether to stay here and become new olim,” Yechieli told Arutz Sheva.
Around 90% of the students who finish the program choose to remain in Israel afterwards, he added, noting that sometimes the program encourages family members of the participants to make aliyah as well.
However, said Yechieli, “It’s not enough that Israel is attractive. Something has to push them out” of their home countries, he added, citing as an example France, where there is growing interest for NAALE.
“Those families decided, at the moment, not to make aliyah for different circumstances, but rather to send a boy or a girl from the family to Israel in advance, and I believe that if the children succeed here, their parents will follow,” said Yechieli.
On the scene at the airport was also Dr. Benny Fisher, head of the Ministry of Education's Rural Education and Youth Aliyah division, who told the new participants of the NAALE program:
“We welcome you with open arms. You made a brave Zionist choice in your decision to come and study in Israel. The educational staff at the schools and boarding schools will do everything to provide you with warm support during your stay in Israel. You will undergo an extraordinary experience of high-class learning alongside social programs and an Israeli atmosphere. This is a period that you are sure to remember for the better for years to come.”