Hundreds from around the globe make aliya this week

‘The destiny of the Jewish people is to live in Israel,’ says brand new immigrant Hillel Davis.

NBN aliya flight_311 (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
NBN aliya flight_311
(photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
Hundreds of new immigrants arrived in Israel Tuesday and Wednesday from all over the world, with 714 olim landing at Ben-Gurion Airport during the course of the last two days.
“The destiny of the Jewish people is to live in Israel,” said Hillel Davis, a 58-year old immigrant from New York, who came with his wife on Tuesday to live here.
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Hillel and his wife Roch (Rachel) are leaving behind their three children and one of their grandchildren, and admit that that it’s tough for them and for their family.
“There are always reasons not to make aliya, though.
Life gets in the way, whether its kids or jobs – but it’s easy living outside of Israel to fall into a ravine and get comfortable, and you don’t appreciate God’s gift to us.”
The new immigrants are arriving from North America, Brazil, France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the countries of the former Soviet Union.
On Wednesday, 220 olim came under the auspices of the Jewish Agency and 249 arrived on Tuesday. In addition, another 245 North Americans were brought to Israel by Nefesh B’Nefesh on a chartered flight dedicated for the new immigrants, in partnership with the Jewish Agency.
The new arrivals ranged in age from a two-month old baby, to an 81-year old man who made aliya with his wife.
According to the Jewish Agency, there will be approximately 20,000 olim in 2011.
Last year saw roughly the same figure, although this represented a 17 percent rise over the 2009 numbers.
Nefesh B’Nefesh said they helped approximately 5,000 people make aliya in 2010, and expect roughly the same number to arrive this year.
Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver was at Ben-Gurion to greet the newly minted Israeli citizens, along with the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, and Nefesh B’Nefesh co-founders Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.
“Living in Israel is just more meaningful,” said 24- year old Mika Hakner, from New Zealand. “Any big life change is scary, but something’s missing for me in New Zealand – there’s not the same spirit that there is in Israel.”
Hakner, who has a political science degree and will be attending Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, said she didn’t think she would miss New Zealand all that much.
“Separating from my parents will be hard,” Hakner acknowledged, “but I want to live in the country where I most belong.”
Ruth Hubert, a 29-year old lawyer from France, who also made aliya on Tuesday, said she would miss Paris where she grew up, as well as her friends and family – but was taught by her parents since she was a child that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and has taken the message to heart.
“I know that life will be difficult – I’ll need to learn Hebrew, find a job and integrate into Israeli society. But Israel is the safest place for the Jewish people, and I can ensure my children will have a Jewish identity,” Hubert said.