242 new immigrants from North America landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday morning on Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 60th specially chartered ELAL flight. The flight was facilitated in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Integration & Absorption, 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 volunteering to serve in the IDF without immediate family living in Israel, 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.
Tuesday’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 the airport upon arrival and included: Wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sara Netanyahu; Minister of Immigration Yoav Galant; Chairman of The Jewish Agency Yitzchak Herzog; Chairman of the Union of Local Authorities in Israel and Mayor of Modi’in- Maccabim -Reut, Chaim 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. 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,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog. “These olim have built Israeli society and our country. I would like to extend a mazal tov to the 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.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: Shahar Azran)