There were 242 new olim (immigrants) from North America who landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday morning, bringing 41 future lone soldiers, 103 children, three sets of twins and a 28-day-old baby to Israel.
The olim, who arrived on Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 60th specially chartered flight, hailed from 22 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. They are part of the 2,300 Jews from North America who will come to Israel this year.
The flight 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. Seventy-eight 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 the greater Jerusalem area.
A special welcome committee included Sara Netanyahu, Minister of Aliyah and Integration Yoav Galant, and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog, as well as Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.
“Each and every oleh brings a world of their own to Israel—culturally, ideologically and professionally—as they strengthen the Jewish nation,” said Rabbi 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.”
“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 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.”
Aliyah is a “strategic objective that assists in strengthening the state and the Jewish people,” said Danny Atar, world chairman of Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL). “Welcome to your real home, the home of every Jew wherever he is: the State of Israel.”
Close to 30,000 Jews from around the world chose to make Israel their new home during 2018, a 5% increase over 2017.
Some 3.5 million people have made aliyah since 1948, making up 42% of the total population.
In 2018, over 70 years after the Holocaust, the world’s largest Jewish population lives in Israel. This figure represents 43% of world Jewry.
By JLNJ Staff and combined sources