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(photo credit: Nefesh Benefesh)
Nefesh B'Nefesh announced Tuesday that it will begin bringing immigrants from the United Kingdom this summer, after years of focusing exclusively on North Americans.
The move, first reported in The Jerusalem Post, comes at the behest of scores of UK Jews eager for the program to be expanded to their country, according to NBN spokeswoman.
Immigrants who come on NBN receive grants - up to $5,000 for singles and $20,000 for families - and services to help establish lives in Israel. Some 7,000 people have been brought to date by the organization.
No date has been set for the first British plane load, but it should arrive sometime in late summer. The organization has begun putting out feelers to members of the UK Jewish community, though no one has yet completed the application process.
NBN hopes to have enough immigrants to fill a charter flight for the first ingathering from the British Isles.
"England is the most natural expansion for Nefesh B'Nefesh's services, especially as a result of the high interest that has been expressed from the wonderful Jewish community there," said NBN Co-Founder and Executive Director, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. "The Israeli government, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and additional key British figures have given us their blessings and together we hope to achieve great success there as well," he said.
In an interview last month, Sacks told the Post, "It's absolutely clear that we must bring it to British Jewry as well. They [Nefesh B'Nefesh] want to and I give it my full support. It's a wonderful program and we're going to go for it," he said.