With music and shofar blasts, Israel welcomes olim from North America

The new immigrants are among a total of 2,282 olim expected to arrive from the US and Canada this summer.

By
August 16, 2019 05:21
4 minute read.
242 new immigrants stepped off a Nefesh B’Nefesh chartered El Al flight in Ben-Gurion Airport on Aug

242 new immigrants stepped off a Nefesh B’Nefesh chartered El Al flight in Ben-Gurion Airport on August 14, 2019.. (photo credit: GPO)

To the sounds of shofar blasts and the cheering of hundreds of Israelis who came to celebrate with them, 242 new immigrants stepped off a Nefesh B’Nefesh chartered El Al flight in Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday, arriving from the United States and Canada.

The new immigrants, decked out in Nefesh B’Nefesh caps and T-shirts, were among a total of 2,282 olim expected to arrive from the US and Canada this summer. Of the 242 that landed on Wednesday, 41 plan to join the IDF and 103 are under the age of 18.


Despite the 6 a.m. arrival, the immigrants were welcomed off the plane to a live band and hundreds of enthusiastic and teary-eyed family members, friends and supporters. Among the attendees were the wife of the prime minister, Sara Netanyahu; Aliyah and Integration Minister Yoav Galant; Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog; Mayor of Beit Shemesh Aliza Bloch; Mayor of Bat Yam Tzvika Brot; and Nefesh B’Nefesh founders Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.

“Today we celebrate the joy. We celebrate the homeland. We celebrate coming home,” Fass told the cheering crowd. “We celebrate you, and your determination and your values – and this historic, majestic moment.”

With the flight that arrived on Wednesday, Nefesh B’Nefesh has assisted over 60,000 immigrants to pick up and move from North America and settle in the Jewish state.

“As we celebrate our 60,000th oleh today, we reflect upon how Nefesh B’Nefesh, as an institution, has been privileged to not only help tens of thousands of Jews fulfill their aliyah dreams, but has also contributed to building and developing the State of Israel through these Olim,” Fass said.

 PM Netanyahu's wife Sara joins the ceremony for new immigrants from the US and Canada at Ben Gurion Airport (Credit: Haim Zach/GPO)

The flight was the 60th chartered flight full of immigrants to have been organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and was sponsored by Heidi Rothberg. It was facilitated in cooperation with Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Ministry, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL), and Jewish National Fund-USA.

Netanyahu also addressed the large crowd, focusing her message on the 41 young people who intend to serve in the IDF as lone soldiers.

“You, the lone soldiers, I especially welcome,” she said. “Welcome to Israel and welcome to the IDF. You have left a warm home, family and friends, in order to make aliyah and join the success story of Israel and come here, to your home. All of Israel embraces you today; we are all your family. Even if you are called ‘lone soldiers’ – you are not alone: We are always with you.”

The mother of two also offered the young recruits some practical advice. “Remember: every opportunity you have, call your father and mother. Tell them about the service and the wonderful country. But most importantly, protect us, protect Israel and protect yourself."

Herzog said that, “as the Jewish Agency marks 90 years since its founding, I am delighted to have hundreds of new olim arrive in the State of Israel. Together with our partners and the Israeli government, we have brought over three million olim, from dozens of countries around the world, and helped fulfill their Zionist dreams to live in their homeland,” he said. “These olim have built Israeli society and our country.”

Haim Bibas- chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel greeted the "olim" and welcomed them to Israel- "Getting to this point is a great achievement.  It involved sacrifice. You have left families. You left friends, jobs and schools.  By coming here you are investing in the future- Your future, Your children’s future.  And, the future of the Jewish people! We have been waiting and preparing for you, and the local government will make sure your new life here in Israel will be meaningful."

 PM Netanyahu's wife Sara joins the ceremony for new immigrants from the US and Canada at Ben Gurion Airport (Credit: Haim Zach/GPO)

The group of immigrants, which included 31 families, hail from Canada and over 20 American states, and plan to settle throughout the country.

"We view aliyah as a value of utmost importance, especially the olim who plan on serving the country and will one day create permanent homes in Israel,” said Danny Atar, world chairman of KKL. “We will do everything we can to give these young olim a stable ground during their military service, while providing the proper tools for integrating into this country to ensure the long-term success of their life in Israel.”


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