Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman celebrated his 10th year living in Israel by speaking at the Knesset to others who made aliya, some of whom were on the same flight as him a decade ago.

President-elect Reuven Rivlin joined Tuesday’s event, offering his thoughts on the aliya process and the importance of returning to Israel.

“I was born here so it was natural for me to be a Zionist,” he said. “Olim are the real heroes and the real Zionists because they have sacrificed something to come to Israel.”

Rivlin said that he had a dream in 1947 that many more Jews would flock to Israel, but never imagined the success of the aliya programs in the country.

“I thought there would be 2 million Jews by the time we reached the year 2000,” he said. “It’s 2014 and there are now 7 million here.”

Lipman spoke about how much of a blessing it was to see the growth of the aliya program Nefesh B’Nefesh, which has brought 30,000 olim to Israel.

He also celebrated the Lone Soldier program, which has brought over 25,000 members to the Israeli army from foreign countries.

“[Making aliya] gives new blood to the Israeli society and economy,” Lipman said. “I’m very pleased to see so many familiar faces, how the kids have grown, how people have succeeded and are still here.”

All attendants at the event were invited to the podium to speak about their aliya experiences, shake hands with Lipman and receive a certificate.

One of the participants said that Israel is the greatest part of her life, and that the country is “the best place to raise children.” The audience at the event was comprised of a diverse crowd, including a newly married couple, as well as a woman who had arrived to Beersheba from abroad on Tuesday.

Lipman said that he never imagined he would reach the successful position he has now achieved, but that he wants to continue with the aliya program and remain a member of Knesset for as long as possible.

“It’s amazing what can happen in a short span of time,” he said. “I still have the picture of me walking off of the plane [after making aliya] in my office.”

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