The Association of Israelis of Central European Origin was founded in 1932 during the Fifth Aliyah (wave of immigration to the Land of Israel) as an immigrant association called the Association of German Immigrants. Since then, the organization has continuously worked on behalf of the descendants of immigrants from Eastern Europe and for immigrants from German cultures in Germany, Austria, Czechia and Switzerland. The AICEO is a volunteer organization with a liberal and humanistic worldview led by the second- and third-generation descendants of its founders. AICEO members have the right to influence and elect members to its permanent institutions: the Presidency, the Finance Committee, the Heritage Programs Committee and others. The organization has worked continuously for eight decades holding true to its core values while constantly renewing itself and adapting its activities to the changing Israeli reality and needs.
Activities of the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Center offices
The AICEO runs offices in the country’s largest cities. These offices are responsible for running activities in their communities. They have thus become social-cultural centers. Some of their activities include volunteer work like running a hotline to identify members who need assistance, contact with professional bodies and volunteer organizations with an emphasis on social-community gatherings and diverse cultural content such as classes, trips and lectures. Thousands of members and guests of all ages participate in these activities every year.
The Mutual Assistance Project (MAP) – helping members of the community
The Mutual Assistance Project was founded in 1941 to help needy Central European immigrants and their descendants. To this day, the project has run in the spirit of the value: “No one in our community will go hungry.” The project therefore helps needy members of the community. The project has also assisted in the foundation, expansion and renovation of the retirement homes since the AICEO’s foundation, and it also assists senior citizens who continue living in their homes as well as in promoting the organization’s cultural and social activities.
Retirement homes – care for the elderly
The AICEO was a pioneer in modern geriatric care in Israeli society. Its members were the first to establish modern institutional care for elderly members of the community. As early as the 1950s, the organization set up an extensive network of retirement homes and nursing homes managed by Chevrat Meonot Horim (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv) and Chevrat Batei Horim (Haifa). Today nine high-quality retirement homes housing about 1,000 tenants operate as subsidiaries of the AICEO.
Immigration and absorption
The organization provides advice and handles immigration and absorption issues for immigrants from German-speaking countries. It is a source of information for immigrant rights, studies and finding a job. The AICEO also serves as a social and cultural meeting place for immigrants.
Scholarships and research grants
Every year, the AICEO, through the Mutual Assistance Project, awards about 35 scholarships to students from the younger generation.
The periodical was founded at the beginning of German-speaking immigration to the Land of Israel in 1932 and has been published continuously to this day. The magazine, which preserves editorial freedom and is professionally edited, contains articles dealing with social and cultural issues, heritage issues and personal stories. The uniqueness of the printed material is that it has an affinity to the descendants of the founding generation and their heritage. It is published bi-monthly (about 5 to 6 issues a year) and is very successful among the Israeli public in general and among Israelis of Central European origin in particular.
One of the AICEO’s main activities is the perpetuation of the heritage of Central European Jewry and endowing public discourse in Israel with its values. The organization runs extensive activities aimed at telling the illustrious story of Central European immigrants in various fields in the Land of Israel prior to the establishment of the state and their decisive influence in shaping the country’s character and development. To this end, the AICEO maintains a welcome partnership with the German-Speaking Jewry Heritage Museum (formerly in Tefen, western Galilee to be re-established at the Hecht Museum in Haifa). The organization initiates activities documenting and preserving heritage and assists in realizing them. The AICEO holds conferences and seminars on these topics intended for AICEO members, those joining from the second and third generation and the general public.
The Altneuland forest – the Association of Israelis of Central European Origin’s forest
In 2007, to mark the AICEO’s 75th anniversary, its presidency, in collaboration with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), decided to dedicate a forest in the Galilee in honor of Central European immigrants and their descendants and to commemorate the Fifth Aliyah. The forest selected is in Har Ha’achim, which is between Yodfat and Hararit. It is a “living forest,” and the AICEO runs activities there: hikes that include a visit to the German-Speaking Jewry Heritage Museum in Tefen, meetings with families, hikes for foreign delegations and communities, holiday activities, sports activities for students, camps for youth movements and more. Every contribution to planting trees or to the care of the forest is rewarded with a certificate of appreciation from the AICEO and the KKL-JNF.
Facing Israeli society
In recent years, the AICEO has also directed its attention and activities to involvement in civil society, while maintaining its apolitical character. As such, the organization makes its voice heard on issues of public and ethical significance.
The organization’s core values
Mutual assistance and social solidarity; volunteering and contributing to the community and to society; Zionism and building the country; absorbing immigration, excellence in every occupation and expanding knowledge; education and culture; work values; civilized society; intellectual pluralism and the preservation of heritage and passing it on to descendants and the general public.
Location of operations
The AICEO is national, and it has offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Assistance is given to those in need all over the country: in cities, economically depressed areas, moshavim and kibbutzim. Activities to encourage and absorb immigrants are carried out all over the country and abroad in communities in German-speaking countries.
157 Yigal Allon Street, Tel Aviv 6744365
Tel Aviv and Center office
Phone: 03-5164461 ext. 2001