Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that helps North Americans immigrate to Israel, reported that they received the highest number of applications since its founding 18 years ago, JTA reported last week.
Over 900 applications were submitted to the organization in the first half of June, versus 399 in June 2019.
Nefesh B’Nefesh has arranged 14 group flights of North American Jews making aliyah this summer, in coordination with the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL) and JNF-USA, and signed a contract with El Al to operate the group flights.
Immigration Minister Penina Tamanu-Shata told the Knesset earlier this month that there will be a surge of aliyah to Israel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“By the end of 2021, we can expect the arrival of 90,000 immigrants, compared to the 35,463 of 2019,” Tamanu-Shata said.
Some Jews felt impelled to make aliyah following the closing of Israel’s borders due to the coronavirus pandemic, an Arutz Sheva report said.
For example, Dan Bocobza of France has been thinking about making aliyah for years but finally made a decision due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“France’s mismanagement of COVID-19 played a role, but above all it was feeling that suddenly the doors were closed,” Bocobza told Arutz Sheva.
“We always considered leaving for Israel, but the crisis created a new situation of not being able to travel. That was a real blow to me.”
According to a French news agency AFP report, there have been triple the number of aliyah requests from French Jews since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic than during the corresponding time period last year.
Israeli news reports on Tuesday said that due to the aliyah increase, the Jerusalem Municipality has granted Nefesh B’Nefesh a designated property to build a permanent aliyah center in Jerusalem’s National Quarter (Kiryat HaLeom) near Israel’s Supreme Court.
בית "נפש בנפש" יוקם בירושלים https://t.co/KCzqUSmhZV
עיריית ירושלים הקצתה לארגון העלייה הוותיק היתר להקמת מרכז קבע חדש ומתקדם לטובת הרחבת פעילויות העלייה לישראל.
— Nefesh B'Nefesh (@NefeshBNefesh) June 30, 2020
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)