Two Nefesh b’Nefesh charter flights touched down on the tarmac of Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning bearing the gift of new “anglo” immigrants to Israel from the United States and Britain.
A third sister flight is expected in less than a day from Canada as well.
For the new Israelis, financial and logistical support from Nefesh b'Nefesh (NBN), an organization dedicated to facilitating Aliyah from North America and the United Kingdom, made aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) a reality, one that became a visceral truth only after the passengers stepped down from the planes.
“We are happy to be home,” raved Danny Masri, who came with his wife and six children. “I love you Mom and Dad! Listen to Yishai and Malkah (Fleisher, on Israel National Radio) in the morning!,” he continued enthusiastically.
Masri’s story, like many, is unique. His wife’s grandmother, who was taken off the boat by the British in her aliyah prior to the establishment of the State, has today watched her grandchild come with her family to join her in Israel.
“Our big question on the plane was, ‘Fish or chicken?’ chuckled Masri. “My grandmother's was basically survival, you know? It’s a whole new game.”
Hear the complete radio interview with Mr. and Mrs Daniel Masri.
Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder of Nefesh b’Nefesh, told Arutz-7’s Yishai Fleischer the group’s assistance to British Jews has skyrocketed. “It shows the interest in aliyah has increased again,” he said, “in a sense that we are also able to expand and drift off to different continents, which is great.”
Fass noted that the issues for British Jews are somewhat different from those that motivate North Americans.
“Everything is a very different approach within England…politically it’s different, and the reasons of aliyah are also different,” he said. “Obviously there is an aliyah of choice from England, but there is also an undercurrent of a very changed culture and a very changed dynamic that’s occurring in Europe and in England.”
Of course, there is also the difference in style as well, he pointed out. “There’s just the whole approach, the British approach, different from Americans……a different staff, and a different approach and a different English even,” he grinned.
Hear the complete interview radio interview with Rabbi Fass.
By Wednesday afternoon more than 300 English-speakers will have arrived, a record number of new immigrants within a 24-hour period this summer for the North American aliyah organization.
The six-year-old NBN organization has brought more than 12,000 U.S., Canadian and British Jews to make their homes in Israel, and will have brought 2,200 new immigrants on 15 aliyah flights this season alone.
When asked whether Australia, or perhaps South Africa might be next on the list, Fass smiled again.
“They’re next. Smiling. “G-d willing, they’re next.”