olmert nefesh 298 88.
(photo credit: Scoop 80)
520 new immigrants from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom arrived on three flights sponsored by Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency Wednesday morning and were welcomed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski.
Olmert's decision to greet the newcomers showed the "great importance" he placed on their arrival, a spokesman from his office said.
Speaking to the new arrivals at Ben Gurion Airport, Olmert stressed Israel's success in garnering international support for its battle against Hizbullah.
"As opposed to previous experiences," he said, "the state of Israel was not isolated and not alone. A large part of the international community supported Israel and justified the act that the state of Israel took to defend its people."
He singled out the United States, the England, and Canada for their backing of Israel.
"There can be no stronger (show) of trust in the state of Israel than your decision to come to live here," Olmert claimed.
"We are not an easy country to live in, you don't know it yet, you'll find out soon," the PM added, "but there is no other home but this one."
The agency estimates that 24,000 people will immigrate to Israel in 2006, up from 22,657 a year earlier. More than 4,000 new olim have arrived since the beginning of July.
Jewish Agency spokesman Michael Jankelowitz praised the olim who arrived during the 35 days of violence, saying many of them had decided to make aliya two years ago, during the worst days of the second intifada.
Their "ideological" decision to return to the Land of Israel, Jankelowitz said, was not changed by the war in the north.
"These olim had decided before the conflict erupted that they were coming home to Israel," said Jankelowitz. "When the chips are down, it doesn't mean that the desire to return home goes away. These people thought the best way to show support for Israel and the best answer to Israel's enemies is to come and live in Israel."