With the second Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight of the summer, Israel is gaining several medical professionals, future Lone Soldiers, and individuals committed to reinvigorating the country’s periphery, along with hundreds of other dynamic Olim (new immigrants). The flight was facilitated in cooperation with Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.
The brand-new Olim hail from 19 US states and two Canadian provinces, including 20 families, 64 children, six sets of twins and 26 medical professionals. The 70 future Lone Soldiers will join the more than 1,000 Lone Soldiers from North America, and the 3,000 Lone Soldiers from around the world, who became Israeli citizens and later volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
From computer programmers, psychologists, future soldiers to fashion stylists and aspiring actors, today’s flight saw a diverse group of individuals representing all streams of Judaism and demographics.
Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Friends of the IDF (FIDF), cares for thousands of Lone Soldiers through the Lone Soldiers Program, which offers support for all Lone Soldier immigrants during each stage of their service, after release from the army, and during adjustment to civilian life.
Daniel Atar, World Chairman, KKL-JNF, said in a statement: “Aliyah to Israel has always been the foundation of Zionism, which not only embodies the love and yearning for the Land of Israel, but also the unbreakable connection world Jewry has to each other. The decision made by these young men and women, to move to Israel on their own and join the IDF, proves that investing in the Zionistic and Jewish education of the younger generation overseas is the best and most effective way to increase Aliyah. On many occasions, the young people are the vanguard of the family, and we must continue to support and to strengthen their connection to Israel.”
“The Zionistic mission and settling the land is a never-ending task, and the State of Israel and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel are responsible for invigorating it,” Atar added. The hundreds of Olim who arrived today are part of the great Zionist mission we are spearheading to settle the Negev with one million new residents and the Galilee with half a million new residents, thereby strengthening Israel’s periphery. This is the essence of Zionism in 2017.”
Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver said in a statement: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of today’s precious Olim, and in particular to the 70 young men and women who left their homes and families in order to join the IDF. I am proud of their determination to demonstrate their connection to the Jewish people, and see within that their loyalty to the Zionist dream.”
“More than once, I’ve met with parents of the participants in the ‘Garin Tzabar’ project, who, together with pride in their children’s’ service, expressed concern for their welfare,” Landver intimated. “I always tell them not to worry, that their children have our Ministry of Aliyah and Integration as their address in Israel. I wish all the amazing young people a wonderful service and am most confident that together through our strong partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh, we will continue facilitating Aliyah from North America and Canada!”
Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky said in a statement: “Immigrants from the United States come out of a desire and a sense of excitement to take part in the national project of the Jewish people, which further deepens and enriches their identity. We must ensure that the State of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home and in which every immigrant can confidently connect to the history, roots, and national identity of the Jewish people.”
“Today’s Olim, all from diverse communities and backgrounds, are Israel’s 21st century pioneers, helping to build the country, using their individual strengths and talents,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “It is especially inspiring to see the young men and women who will soon join the thousands of lone soldiers currently serving in the army, each in their own way fulfilling the dreams of their forefathers and strengthening the Jewish nation.”
Elad Sandrovich, CEO of Tzofim-Tzabar Olami, noted that “by the end of 2017, no less than 450 substantial youth who are coming to Israel with the Tzofim Tzabar program will arrive in Israel to join the IDF as lone soldiers to protect the State of Israel and its citizens. They immigrate to Israel in spite of many personal challenges that each immigrant faces, and they deserve recognition and appreciation for the courageous decision that they made in order to come to Israel and join the IDF.”
A special welcome ceremony was held at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival and included: Chairman of Yesh Atid, MK Yair Lapid; Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat; Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky; World Chairman of KKL-JNF, Daniel Atar; Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau; Chairman of the Israel Scouts, Eli Ben Yosef; Deputy Director of the International Affairs of El Al, Stanley Morais; Head of the Aliyah Department of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Deganit Sanker-La nge; and Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.