By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Tel Aviv, Israel … August 14, 2019 – Nefesh B’Nefesh, a Jewish non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah (immigration) from North America and the UK, brought 242 new immigrants (Olim) from North America to Israel today. The flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport and was greeted by hundreds of Israelis, music and dancing in a joyous, landmark celebration.
This was Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 60th chartered ELAL flight to Israel.
This morning’s flight was coordinated with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL), and Jewish National Fund-USA.
The new Olim are from a variety of backgrounds culturally and demographically – hailing from 22 US states and two Canadian provinces. They include 103 children under the age of 17, 21 medical professionals, three sets of twins, and a 28-day-old baby, who officially became the youngest Oleh to make Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh this summer.
In addition, the flight also carried 41 future Lone Soldiers – those joining to serve in the Israel Defense Forces without immediate family living in Israel and who will join the close to 1,000 Lone Soldiers from North America, and the close to 4,000 Lone Soldiers from around the world. These young men and women, once they become Israeli citizens, enlist in the IDF as required of all Israelis at the age of 18, some of whom will be doing so through Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.
Today’s flight also saw a diverse group of professionals bringing their talents to Israel, including artists, chemists, lawyers and non-profit leaders, who are moving to communities throughout Israel. In fact, 78 Olim on the flight will be part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go Beyond program, which provides enhanced Aliyah packages and increased services to new Olim moving to Israel’s periphery regions and Jerusalem.
A special welcome ceremony was held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv upon arrival and included the wife of Israel’s Prime Minister, Sara Netanyahu; Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Major General (ret.) Yoav Galant; Chairman of The Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog; Chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel and Mayor of Modi’in- Maccabim -Reut, Haim Bibas; Mayor of Beit Shemesh, Aliza Bloch; Mayor of Bat Yam, Tzvika Brot as well as Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.
“As the Jewish Agency marks 90 years since its founding, I am delighted to have hundreds of new Olim arrive in the State of Israel,” said Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog.
“Together with our partners and the Israeli government, we have brought over three million Olim, from dozens of countries around the world, and helped fulfill their Zionist dreams to live in their homeland. These Olim have built Israeli society and our country.
I would like to extend a Mazal Tov to the new Olim who have come here from North America to build their homes and futures here. The Jewish Agency will accompany and assist the Olim through this next stage.”
“Each and every Oleh brings a world of their own to Israel – culturally, ideologically and professionally as they strengthen the Jewish nation,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“As we celebrate our 60,000th Oleh today, we reflect upon how, Nefesh B’Nefesh, as an institution, has been privileged to not only help tens of thousands of Jews fulfill their Aliyah dreams, but has also contributed to building and developing the state of Israel through these Olim.”
“We view Aliyah as a value of utmost importance, especially the Olim who plan on serving the country and will one day create permanent homes in Israel,” said Danny Atar, World Chairman of KKL.
“To help realize this dream, we are currently launching a long-term flagship program, Israel Relocation 2040 – KKL Building the Land of Tomorrow, aimed at bringing a million and a half new residents to the Negev and Galil. We will do everything we can to give these young Olim a stable ground during their military service, while providing the proper tools for integrating into this country to ensure the long-term success of their life in Israel.”