'This year, Pesach takes on a new meaning'

This year in Jerusalem: Over 5,200 new immigrants will celebrate their first Passover in Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Leon Soussan
Leon Soussan
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

With the start of the Pesach (Passover) holiday, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) will mark a significant milestone in its aliyah (immigration to Israel) activity.

Since Pesach 2017, 5,215 new olim (immigrants) have arrived in Israel. Last month 30 flights with olim from 11 different countries landed in Israel. That wave of immigration brought 151 families to Israel who are just beginning their new lives all over the country. Among the olim are 75 infants and children under the age of 18.

Onboard, the three olim shared their emotions as they prepare to celebrate their first Pesach seder in Israel.

One of the olim, Sarah Funto, 35, who will be living in the city of Ma’aleh Adumim after her arrival shared her thoughts: "Before now, the term 'next year in Jerusalem' was an abstract concept for me, with no meaning. I did not celebrate Passover properly, I did not really make the separation from chametz (leavened bread). But this year, Passover will take on a different meaning for me. I will leave my chametz behind and look forward, excited about my new beginning. "

The new olim from France landed after an ongoing deterioration in safety for Jews in their country. In the most recent terrorist incident to take place, Mireille Knoll, an elderly Holocaust survivor was murdered earlier this week in the suburbs of Paris. The investigation now points to an anti-Semitic motive for the attack. Leon Soussan, 54, who is expected to settle in Ashdod, expressed a sigh of relief when he landed in Israel last night. "I see no future in France. The Islamic radicalization we see in the streets of the city endangers the continued Jewish existence in the country. "

IFCJ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein sent the new olim a message of hope.

"While terrorism returns to the streets of France, we are happy to see olim coming home to safety in Israel," he said. "We will continue to work to increase the personal security of Jews from all over the world and to help those who wish to find their home in Israel. I wish all the immigrants and the entire Jewish people a happy Passover!"

Since 2014 the IFCJ has worked independently to bring olim to Israel from 27 different countries. Around 12,000 olim have arrived in Israel through IFCJ, all of whom receive additional financial assistance for their flight to Israel and absorption benefits, to which all immigrants are entitled, from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Sarah Funto
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews