A bill designating the 10th of the Hebrew month of Nissan ”Aliyah Day” passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum Wednesday.

The legislation is intended to institute a day dedicated to immigrants to Israel (olim) and their contributions to the country. The day would be marked around the country in schools, the Israel Defense Forces, the President’s Residence, and the Knesset. In addition, on this day the government would hold a special event honoring immigrants to Israel, and the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs would mark the day as well with a special debate.

Several bills to that effect were proposed by MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Miki Zohar (Likud) and Avraham Naguisa (Likud).

Bill to institute Aliyah Day approved in preliminary vote; MK Zohar: ”It`s meant to remind those who claim we are a conquering nation that we arrived here 3,500 years ago”

The bill`s explanatory notes state that its purpose is to ”instill the value and the supreme importance of Aliyah in the past present and future, and to strengthen the Israeli nation internally, as a basis for the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, for developing and shaping it as a multi-cultural society with a shared mother tongue and a common future.”

”Those who left behind all they had in the Diaspora and immigrated to the Land of Israel have contributed greatly to the prosperity of the State of Israel. Furthermore, the Aliyah is a symbol of the Jewish history in which Jews conducted their lives in the Land of Israel, were expelled from it, but did not abandon it for a moment and returned to it, to their historic home, as part of the Zionist and national wonder.”

MK Zohar said the bill is meant ”to remind us all what had happened here 3,500 years ago. There are those who will claim that we are a conquering nation and that we arrived in the Land of Israel only 68 years ago, but for those who do not know, we arrived in the Land of Israel 3,500 years ago.”

Forty-two MKs supported the bill in its preliminary reading, and only one voted against it. The bill will now be transferred to the Immigration Committee, which will prepare it for the next votes.