Monday, June 25, 2018

In back from left to right: Nefesh B’Nefesh co-founder and executive director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass; Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver; and Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Erez Halfon, with children on the charter flight (Credit: Shahar Azran, courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)

The Bienenfeld family from Plainview, NY getting off the plane in Tel Aviv with Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver (Credit: Shahar Azran, courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)

The Lankin family from Highland Park, NJ upon landing in Israel. (Credit: Shahar Azran, courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)

Nefesh B’Nefesh just capped off another summer of its work facilitating immigration to Israel. With the two planeloads of olim, along with 11 group aliyah flights and olim arriving independently on a daily basis, Nefesh B’Nefesh will bring over 2,000 olim making aliyah this summer from North America.

“Today’s Olim, all from diverse communities and backgrounds, are Israel’s 21st-century pioneers, helping to build the country, using their individual strengths and talents,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass after the August 15 flight landed. “It is especially inspiring to see the young men and women who will soon join the thousands of lone soldiers currently serving in the army, each in their own way fulfilling the dreams of their forefathers and strengthening the Jewish nation.” From computer programmers, psychologists and future soldiers to fashion stylists and aspiring actors, these charter flights saw a diverse group of individuals representing all streams of Judaism and demographics.

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s most recent (the second of the summer) charter flight of 2017 landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on August 15—this one carrying 233 new North American immigrants, including 70 future lone soldiers, 26 medical professionals and 32 new residents of Israel’s periphery. The future lone soldiers will join the over 1,000 lone soldiers from North America, and the 3,000 lone soldiers from around the world, who become Israeli citizens and later volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

This flight comes just over a month after Nefesh B’Nefesh’s first summer charter flight, which carried over 200 individuals from North America on July 4. Both flights were facilitated in cooperation with Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.

Mr. Daniel Atar, world chairman, KKL-JNF, said the following: “Aliyah to Israel has always been the foundation of Zionism, which not only embodies the love and yearning for the land of Israel, but also the unbreakable connection world Jewry has to each other. The decision made by these young men and women, to move to Israel on their own and join the IDF, proves that investing in the Zionistic and Jewish education of the younger generation overseas is the best and most effective way to increase aliyah. On many occasions, the young people are the vanguard of the family, and we must continue to support and to strengthen their connection to Israel. The Zionistic mission and settling the land is a never-ending task, and the state of Israel and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel are responsible for invigorating it. The hundreds of olim who arrived today are part of the great Zionist mission we are spearheading to settle the Negev with one million new residents and the Galilee with half a million new residents, thereby strengthening Israel’s periphery. This is the essence of Zionism in 2017.”

A special welcome ceremony was held at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival on August 15 and included Chairman of Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, World Chairman of KKL-JNF Daniel Atar, Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau, Chairman of the Israel Scouts Eli Ben Yosef, Deputy Director of the International Affairs of El Al Stanley Morais, Head of the Aliyah Department of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration Deganit Sanker-Lange and Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.

Natan Sharansky said, “Immigrants from the United States come out of a desire and a sense of excitement to take part in the national project of the Jewish people, which further deepens and enriches their identity. We must ensure that the state of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home and in which every immigrant can confidently connect to the history, roots and national identity of the Jewish people.”

Learn more about Nefesh B’Nefesh at http://www.nbn.org.il/.