233 US and Canadian Olim Land in Israel with Nefesh B’Nefesh.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
For young Israelis, serving in the military is a significant and exciting stage in their lives, a time when they leave their homes and families and enter a framework with military discipline. It is a challenging experience for the tens of thousands of young Israelis drafted every year.
If it is such a challenging and significant experience for those young men and women who were born here and have lived their whole lives knowing that one day they’ll serve in the military, one can imagine what it’s like for young Americans, that while all their friends leave for college, they pack up a suitcase and fly thousands of miles to serve in the IDF!
About 70 young men and women who landed in Ben Gurion Airport that morning have taken this step, and it cannot be taken for granted. By the end of the year they will be enlisted to various IDF units, joining the 3000 other immigrant lone soldiers currently serving in the IDF.
These young men and women came on a special immigration flight with the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization that landed at 7 am on August 8, carrying 233 olim on board. The flight was facilitated in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency, KKL-JNF, JNF-USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.
After landing in Israel, Alexander Haimovitch, aged 21 from Brooklyn, said: “As a kid in the U.S., I would always look up to these young men and women wearing their green uniform, admiring them. Now I’ve grown up and realized that I want to be one of these soldiers; for me it’s an honor to defend this country. I hope I’ll be sent to the Egoz special forces unit and contribute as much as I can.” Alexander will be living in Kvutzat Yavne, as part of Garin Tzabar, and will be drafted to the IDF in the upcoming weeks.
The olim were greeted by family members, who were just as excited as the newcomers. The olim came from dozens of North American states: Ohio, Ontario, Illinois, Georgia, Washington, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Connecticut and California. About 10% of the Olim will move to Jerusalem and Israel’s less central areas, from Be'er Sheva in the south of Israel, all the way to Kibbutz Kinneret in the North. The others will live in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in and other cities.
Read more and see photos of the Olim arriving in Israel