Nefesh B'Nefesh olim land as interest in aliyah reaches record numbers

In June alone, Nefesh B'Nefesh reported that they received 1,350 immigration applications, compared to 399 in June of last year.

38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (photo credit: NETANEL COHEN)
38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight
(photo credit: NETANEL COHEN)
Some 38 new immigrants (olim) landed at Ben-Gurion Airport Wednesday morning as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight. Organization of the flight itself was a concerted effort between Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.
38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)
Despite all the complications that the unprecedented public health crisis has caused around the world, and in some instances because of them, record-breaking numbers of people in the Diaspora are now applying to make aliyah.
With the sharp increase in immigration projected amid the coronavirus pandemic, groups like Nefesh B'Nefesh – a nonprofit focused on bolstering Israel-Diaspora ties and immigration to Israel – have alerted the Knesset that they should expect around 250,000 new immigrants over the next 3-5 years.
In June alone, Nefesh B'Nefesh reported they received 1,350 immigration applications, compared to 399 in June of last year. The organization also received 25,435 phone calls to its call center requesting information about the aliyah process, in comparison to 5,349 last June.
38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)
"I am delighted to welcome the new North American olim, who join more than 7,000 Jews from around the world who have made Aliyah in recent months. Despite the challenges the pandemic has caused, the State of Israel has always been and will continue to remain open for aliyah, during the best of times as well as times of crisis,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tamano-Shata.
“There has recently been a significant increase in the volume of aliyah interest, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration is prioritizing a broad national plan to welcome the upcoming wave of aliyah in the next few years," she added.
The youngest new immigrant (oleh) on today's flight was just four years old, with the eldest being 84.
The 38 olim hail from all over the United States, from states like New York, California, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Colorado and Minnesota. They will be moving to Jerusalem, Tzfat, Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Beit Shemesh, Rechovot, Modiin, Rishon Lezion, Rosh Ha’Ayin, Kibbutz Alumim, Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and Kibbutz Magen, respectively.
38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)38 Olim land in Israel as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight (Netanel Cohen)
“I applaud these resilient olim who have arrived at a challenging time and stayed the course, committed to their plans and dreams,” said co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “We are working tirelessly with our government counterparts to ensure that aliyah endures, and to find solutions for the difficulties the current circumstances have created.”
Jeremy Sharon and Marcy Oster/JTA contributed to this report.