North American aliyah organization Nefesh B'Nefesh is set to break a record Monday with an historic “children's aliyah flight” that is to carry 106 children, in 41 families, to start new lives in Israel. All in all, the flight will carry 231 new olim (Jews returning to Israel) from North America.
Former abducted IDF soldier will Gilad Schalit will also be on board El Al flight LY3004, as a show of solidarity and appreciation.
The flight is the first-ever “children's flight” organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh along with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), or Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael.
Nefesh B'Nefesh expects 989 children to make aliyah on its flights in 2013. This is a 20 percent rise compared to 2012, in which 822 children made aliyah.
"The children's flight fills us with great optimism,” said Erez Halfon, Deputy Chairman of the organization. “These children are the future of the state of Israel and they cause us great excitement in making aliyah.”
Hundreds of VIPs and guests will receive the olim at Ben Gurion Airport's Terminal One. They will include Aliyah and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, as well as MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), who made aliyah on a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight in 2004.
The term aliyah means “ascent” in Hebrew and has been used in Judaism for millennia, to refer to a pilgrimage by Jews to Jerusalem, or immigration to the Land of Israel from a foreign land.