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Chartered Flight Brings Another 210 North American Jews Home

Among the current arrivals are 21 young people preparing to join the IDF.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 8/7/2007, 10:26 AM

A chartered flight of 210 new immigrants from North America landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning. The immigrants, Jews who are making Aliyah (moving to Israel), were greeted by throngs of friends, family, VIPs and Aliyah enthusiasts. Among the current arrivals are 21 young people preparing to join the IDF.



The chartered flight was organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN), an organization dedicated to facilitating Aliyah from North America and the United Kingdom. Tuesday's flight was the 26th NBN arrival and the third this summer from North America. The first and second summer flights, which arrived last month, brought over 420 olim (immigrants).


An unprecedented 21 of the new immigrants made the move at this time specifically in order to join the Israel Defense Forces shortly after their arrival. A total of 150 new
Tuesday's flight was the 26th NBN arrival and the third this summer from North America.
immigrants from the United States are expected to be drafted into the IDF in the coming months, representing the largest number of new recruits from the US to ever enlist in the IDF in a single draft period.

"As opposed to the phenomenon of evasion we are witnessing in Israel, in the United States we met young men and women whose hearts are filled with the will to volunteer and sacrifice for the state," said Tzvika Levy, who oversees the army's "lone soldier" program. Levy also assists young men and women making Aliyah in order to join the IDF.


Greeting the new immigrants at the airport on Tuesday was opposition leader and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In his remarks, during which he mentioned his recent visit to a Samaria archaeological site, Netanyahu reminded the new arrivals that "this is our land."



NBN co-founder Rabbi Yehoshua Fass told the new arrivals: "You left your house, but you have arrived at home. Welcome home!"  Hear a 12-year-old olah talk about her new life in Israel



A total of some 2,200 olim are scheduled to make Israel their home this summer via NBN's seven charter flights and eight regular El Al flights with groups of NBN immigrants. By the end of 2007, NBN will have brought over 3,500 immigrants to Israel during the year from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Aliyah from North America is expected to reach a 25-year record high, following a steady climb over the past five years.



In addition to the NBN flights from North America and Britain, two chartered planes brought 600 olim from France in July. It was the largest arrival of French Jews immigrating to the Jewish State in decades. The flights, coordinated to arrive simultaneously from Paris and Marseilles, were organized by the AMI (Aliyah et Meilleure Integration) and the Jewish Agency. AMI is a French Aliyah assistance organization modeled after Nefesh B'Nefesh. Hear the director of AMI speak on Israel National Radio.

Pictures by Yishai Fleisher