Two UK immigrants drive 5,000 kilometers in '48 Rolls to make aliya on Israel's 60th

After facing difficult conditions, the two complete their 18-day journey.

rolls royce 88 (photo credit: )
rolls royce 88
(photo credit: )
After facing difficult weather and driving conditions, two men from the UK completed their 18-day, 5,000-kilometer car journey from London to Israel, making aliya on Wednesday. Driving a 1948 Rolls Royce - a 60-year-old car to mark Israel's 60th year of independence - Alexander Singer, 28, and Yaniv Cohen, 26, said they always dreamed of moving to Israel, but were just waiting for the right opportunity. "We are really excited to get through to Israel," Singer, originally from London, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "It will be hard to get back to normal life after such a unique and intense experience, but it's a nice way to start aliya... It's something I'm going to remember for a long, long time." The two were part of the UK Car Rally, organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh and the JNF to help more people move to Israel and to ease the restrictions that new immigrants often face. Another 23 drivers came along to show their support for the Jewish state. Since its foundation in 2000, Nefesh B'Nefesh has brought close to 15,000 North American and British olim to Israel, according to the organization's co-chair, Danny Ayalon, formerly Israel's ambassador to the US. Cohen, who was born in Israel and grew up in Manchester, said he wanted to make aliya because despite his happiness in the UK, "there was one thing missing, and that was Israel." He added that he was looking forward to being part of the changes that would take place in Israel over the next few years. "As we drive along, people greet us, ask us questions about the car and take pictures," he said on Tuesday. "But the highlight for me was when we drove through Sderot. All of the kids came out, we learned more about the situation there and gave kids rides in the car." Cohen added that "when you drive through [the Negev], it makes you think how diverse the whole country is. It was a very surreal feeling." After completing the route through England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Israel, the 25 mainly antique cars arrived at the Knesset in Jerusalem, where Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik presented Singer and Cohen with their Israeli identification cards. "You set off on your journey from London to Jerusalem in order to pay tribute to the State of Israel in our 60th Independence Day celebrations," Itzik said. "You are not only holding the steering wheel, you are also making an important contribution to the development of Israel."