TEL AVIV – Over two hundred new immigrants from the U.S. and Canada landed in Israel on Tuesday morning on a flight chartered by Aliyah [immigration] support NGO, Nefesh B’Nefesh.
The 218 North Americans, hailing from 17 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, were brought to Israel as part of a project led by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, the Jewish Agency, and the Jewish National Fund (JNF)
Elaine from NJ said she left behind her children and grandchildren.
“I thought about it for 50 years, and now life will be as is it supposed to be. I came alone,” she said.
“My parents survived the Holocaust and went to the US and now, finally, I am in Israel,” she said.
Among the new arrivals were veterans from three different U.S. Armed Forces units. Nearly half were children.
Signs emblazoned “Welcome Home” and shofar blasts greeted the new Israelis when they landed at Ben Gurion Airport.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky praised the new immigrants for being an “inspiration” and stressed that Israel continues to be a home for Jews all around the world:
“The people from the U.S. who come here do not come here because they are in distress, but because of their enthusiasm to be part of the national project of the Jewish people.
“We must ensure that the State of Israel continues to be a place in which every Jew feels at home, and a place which excites the imagination of Jews and strengthens their identity and security,” he said.
Overall, nearly 2,000 new immigrants have made Aliyah this summer.
Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver greeted the newcomers, saying that the “wonderful increase from North America” serves to strengthen the Jewish state “economically and nationally.”
She continued by applauding them for taking the step, especially in the current global climate “when worldwide terror rears its head.”
Chairman of the JNF Dani Atar was also in attendance at the ceremony:
“The move to Israel is the base on which Zionism stands, it is the strongest expression of love for Israel,” Atar said.
“The strategic cooperation between the JNF and Nefesh B’Nefesh is designed to help as much as possible people from the diaspora to find their way in the State of Israel, to establish their homes, to integrate into the Israeli way of life, and to contribute to the flourishing of the state each in his own way.”