The plane from the United Kingdom was the first, and marks an expansion of Nefesh b’Nefesh’s operations beyond North America – from where the groups's first 18 flights took off. In his speech to the newcomers, NBN co-founder Rabbi Yehoshua Fass said that the organization would soon be launching its Aliyah assistance programs in Mexico as well.
“You shall inherit the land and you shall settle it,” Rabbi Fass told the crowd of new arrivals. “The moment you step off the plane you inherit the product of many years of sacrifice, blood and tears. Now you must settle the land, loving and embracing it.”
The Re-Engagement war and the days-old ceasefire were on many arrivals’ minds, and the decision to come despite the difficult situation was a prominent theme in the welcome speeches by dignitaries. The president of El Al said that some of the pilots who flew the new immigrants to their new home were flying fighter jets in Lebanon just days ago.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also attended the ceremony, saying Aliyah is the greatest expression of confidence in Israel’s future.
Click here to listen to Israel National Radio's broadcast from the event.
A photo essay of the arrival by Arutz-7 photojournalist Josh Shamsi can be viewed here.
Photos of the historic event taken by Jacob Richman can be viewed by clicking here.