Netanyahu Welcomes Olim

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky welcomed 238 new immigrants from North America in an emotional airport arrival Tuesday morning.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 07:08

New Immigrants arrive in Israel
New Immigrants arrive in Israel
Israel news photo: INN TV

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky “welcomed home” 238 new immigrants (olim) from the United States and Canada Tuesday morning in an emotional arrival ceremony.

“For the first time in 2,000 years, there are more Jews in Israel than there are outside of Israel,” the Prime Minister noted. “After the Roman invasion, we went from one catastrophe to another. Because of your effort and our efforts, we are close to six million Jews and the number is going to grow, and grow and grow because the future of Jews is here in Israel,” he added.

Sharansky thanked the new arrivals who helped campaign for his own freedom when he was a Prisoner of Zion in the former Soviet Union and reminded the olim that they will be experiencing Biblical history wherever they will be living and traveling in Israel.

The immigrants include 55 young men and women in Garin Tzabar who will be enlisting in the army, the largest ever contingent to join an aliyah flight, which was organized by the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization. One of the new soldiers left his studies at the West Point Military Academy in the United States after realizing he should be serving in the Israeli army instead of the American armed forces.

NBN chairman Tony Gelbart said he is excited by the varied stories of each of the olim. “One young man studied in the Golan Heights last year, found an Israeli woman, went back home, packed his bags and is marrying here next month,” Gelbart revealed.

He said another new immigrant is a musician who played with Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Janis Joplin. Other immigrants include a professor, who was the chairman of a department at Johns Hopkins University, and a top executive of a large U.S. company.

Moshe Feiglin of Manhigut Yehudit was on hand to welcome Olim from his own family

Gelbart noted that Israel is the only country in the world where “the Prime Minister greets new immigrants," and he cited the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which states, ”We appeal to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to join the Jewish people in Israel.”

Among other officials present were NBN co-founder Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, the mayor Beit Shemesh and the vice mayor of Jerusalem.