Former IDF captive Gilad Schalit on Monday joined 231 olim for Nefesh b' Nefesh's maiden aliyah flight of the summer.

The flight is to be carrying 231 North American immigrants, including a record number of 106 children as well as 54 singles

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"The fact that thousands of people chose to leave their home and start a new life in Israel is not something I take for granted," Schalit said minutes before departing from JFK airport in New York City.

"I wish them success in their integration and this new beginning," he added.

Vice Chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh Erez HAlfon said: "Gilad Shalit is a loved personality among the Jewish Community in the US and we are happy that he joined our flight in order to promote aliyah to Israel."

This summer, a total of 2,500 olim will be departing for Israel on Nefesh B’Nefesh aliya flights, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel.

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