The 106 American children on today’s El Al group Nefesh B’Nefesh flight LY 3004 are breaking a record for the largest number of youngsters moving to Israel on a single Nefesh flight, says Yael Katsman, spokeswoman for the organization that helps thousands of Jewish immigrants make Israel their home.
The children arriving today, the youngest of whom is 2 months old, are among a total of 2,500 North American olim moving to Israel this summer.
Also on the flight: 13 olim who have signed up to join the Israel Defense Forces. Nefesh B’Nefesh is also celebrating that this flight marks the Aliyah of oleh number 35,000 whom the organization has helped to make Aliyah.
With so many children on board, Nefesh B’Nefesh has made special arrangements to keep the youngsters happy and occupied. In both the JFK and Ben-Gurion airports, NBN arranged for clowns, balloon blowers, and other entertainers. And on the flight, Nefesh B’Nefesh gave the children coloring books and engaged them in a variety of special activities. The arrival ceremony is also set to include Gilat Shalit, Minister of Immigrant Absorption; Sofa Landver; MK Dov Lipman and chairman of the Jewish Agency Nathan Sharansky.
Plans are also in place to ease the children’s adjustment to their new lives in Israel, Katsman adds. “We work together with students entering the school system here to provide them with educational and Hebrew support,” she says. The children will also receive online tutoring services to help with their Hebrew studies and other subjects including those delivered through the magic of Skype.
Additionally, 41 Jewish immigrants arriving on the El Al Group Flight Number LY 3004 are moving to peripheral parts of Israel, as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Go North and the Go South programs. These initiatives are designed to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel’s frontier areas in order to aid their development. “We started our Go North Program and Go South Program to help ease acclimation as much as possible,” Katsman explained, adding that regional coordinators help with employment and a range of social services. On board today are new olim bound for Be’ersheva, Afula, Akko, Haifa, Nahariyya, Omer, Sderot, Yavne, Jerusalem, Maale Adumim, Hadera, and Ramat Bet Shemesh, among other locations throughout Israel.
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About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."
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