Jerusalem – Operating under the mandate of the Law of Return, the Jewish Agency for Israel, through its office in Tbilisi, Georgia, coordinated the evacuation on Saturday of 200 Jews from the city of Gori, adjacent to the war-torn region of South Ossetia.

The Jewish refugees were transported to safety in the Georgian capital, with the offer to take all 200 Jews to Israel. Israel’s first and most primary statute, the Law of Return, mandates that the government of Israel, working with the Jewish Agency for Israel, will reach out and grant Israeli citizenship to any Jew who wishes to return to Israel.

If these 200 people wish to relocate to Israel, the Jewish Agency has informed them that it will arrange for citizenship papers, transportation arrangements and for immediate housing for every one of them.

In the words of one Jewish Agency official, “That, after all, is the purpose of the state of Israel – to provide a home and sanctuary for every Jew in the world, especially in a time of crisis.”

Since the outbreak of the crisis, the Jewish Agency, with its representative and staff in Tbilisi, has worked to bring Jews to safety from the areas of combat and is expediting the process of immigration to Israel for Georgian Jews.

Last Friday the Jewish Agency set up a 24-hour hotline both in its Tbilisi office, for any Jews in the country requiring assistance or information, and in Jerusalem, so that family members in Israel can contact their relatives in Georgia. Scores of Georgians have phoned the information line in Tbilisi.

The Jewish Agency director for the former Soviet Union communities has been dispatched to Georgia to provide assistance to the Jewish community.

Over the weekend, the Jewish Agency received 60 new applications for immigration at its office in Tbilisi; the applications have already been forwarded to Jerusalem for expedited approval.

On Sunday, eight new Georgian immigrants arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel.

There are an estimated 12,000 Jews living today in Georgia, the most of them in the capital city of Tbilisi and the surrounding region. The Jewish Agency offers children and young adults the opportunity to come to Israel immediately for 10 days of summer camp and has opened up places in a special program where high school students from the former Soviet Union study in Israel.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Previous articleIsrael Linked To Georgia Security
Next articleHezbollah, Abbas Reject Israeli Peace Proposal For West Bank
David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.