(JTA) — A religious Zionist youth movement is officially reopening in Germany, 79 years after being shut down under the Nazis.
Bnei Akiva Deutschland is one of several Zionist organizations to return to Germany in recent years. In this case, the group’s aim is to encourage Jews to leave Germany for Israel.
Status as a charitable organization was granted in the city of Dusseldorf on August 18 to the German branch of the Jerusalem-based World Bnei Akiva – which already has emissaries in more than seven cities in Germany. It will now intensify its activities.
“Another Jewish organization resurrected in Germany is another little victory over the Nazis and the new anti-Semites,” the movements director for Germany, Eliyos Paz, said in a statement. Several years ago, the secular Zionist Hashomer Hatzair World Movement returned to Germany with youth activities.
Unlike Hashomer Hatzair, World Bnei Akiva reaches out especially to Orthodox communities. With emissaries in 23 countries, it also sponsors Jewish programming especially aimed towards Jews from the former Soviet Union, according to the group’s website.