Olim arrive at same rate despite violence

The rate of aliya has not decreased despite the recent escalation in violence in Israel, according to the Jewish Agency. In a letter to immigrants who have already arrived and to those who are planning on coming later this summer, Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski wrote that he knew "the decision to make aliya is a complicated personal decision, however, in these times it takes on a special meaning of national importance." He stressed that "the best answer to the attack of the terror is not military but in aliya to Israel." Bielski wrote the letter "to show the olim that he cares about them and to reassure them that there is nothing to be afraid of," said Michael Jankelowitz, spokesman of the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency reported that none of the immigrants who planned to come in the upcoming months has cancelled plans. "They are committed to the cause, and that is our strength as a Jewish people," Jankelowitz said. According to Jankelowitz, the worldwide media is fascinated by the immigrants who are coming, especially the partnered Jewish Agency/Nefesh B'Nefesh flight that will arrive Thursday morning, right in the midst of the war. "Everyone wants to come and see if these olim are normal people," said Jankelowitz, half joking, referring to the fact that some people felt the arriving immigrants were making a mistake by coming at this time. Susie Sokol, mother of Aviyoel Sokol from Toronto who will be arriving on the Thursday Jewish Agency/ Nefesh B'Nefesh flight is "proud of [Aviyoel], even with everyone telling [him] not to go - I'm proud to say that he's going and that he's my son." "I think as the Jewish people, we still have to go and be there in support of the country, the Israelis, the people and especially the soldiers that are fighting," she added.