Watch: Aliyah reawakening - 104 new immigrants arrive

With the reopening of the skies, Nefesh B’Nefesh coordinates a dedicated Aliyah flight from JFK to TLV which is greeted by Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration

Yoni Kempinski ,

The Olim are here
The Olim are here
Shachar Azran

104 new immigrants (Olim) from North America landed at Ben Gurion Airport on a specially chartered Aliyah flight by Nefesh B’Nefesh, facilitated in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), and Jewish National Fund-USA.

The flight included 28 families, along with 18 singles and 27 retirees. The new Olim hailed from New York, New Jersey, Ontario, California, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Maryland and have chosen among others, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Beit Shemesh, Nahariya, Ra'anana, Herzliya and Natanya as the places to build their new lives in Israel. The oldest Oleh is a 98-year-old and the youngest is 4-Months old. 35 Olim on the flight are moving to Israel as part of the KKL - Nefesh B’Nefesh Go Beyond program, which provides enhanced Aliyah packages and increased services to new Olim moving to Israel’s periphery and Jerusalem.

Since the beginning of April 2020, over 3500 North Americans have made Aliyah, 8100 Aliyah applications have been submitted and over 17,000 people have contacted Nefesh B’Nefesh for Aliyah information. In addition, since the beginning of the pandemic, Nefesh B’Nefesh expanded its online programming and events in response to the increasing demand for Aliyah information and services. In fact, from March 2020, the organization has hosted a total of 159 online events (in comparison to 27 in 2019) marking a 480% increase. 8,895 unique households attended its online Aliyah informational events (in comparison to 1,953 participants in 2019), an increase of 350%. Overall, Nefesh B’Nefesh has recorded 97% increase in Aliyah applications submitted to the organization in 2020 versus 2019. Furthermore, the organization has seen a 30% increase of Olim in the first quarter of 2021, in comparison to the same period in 2020.

"I am honored and excited to welcome today’s new Olim from North America. Despite these challenging times, we are doing our utmost to expedite Aliyah from around the world,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tamano-Shata. “We will continue to provide the support necessary for new Olim in order for them to feel at home from the moment they arrive, in full cooperation with Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency."

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, despite all the challenges and uncertainty, interest in Aliyah has continued to rise. As a result, we have worked harder than ever to overcome the hurdles and prepare for the unexpected as best as we can,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Our dedicated staff has been working round the clock to support and help facilitate the Aliyah of our Olim, who have shown incredible resilience in the face of delayed dreams and continue to inspire us with their commitment to the Zionist dream of living in Israel.”

"I'm excited to welcome our newest Israeli citizens who just arrived from North America,” said Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog. “Despite the significant travel restrictions during the pandemic, we've succeeded in bringing tens of thousands of Jews home to Israel, proving that nothing can stop Aliyah. I wish these latest arrivals every success in building their new lives in Israel.

“For many years, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael together with Nefesh B’Nefesh, has been leading a national project to encourage newcomers to live in the Negev and the Galilee. In fact, KKL which is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, has been proudly working for decades to promote Aliyah to Israel,” said Ronnie Vinnikov, CDO of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael. “Especially now, during this challenging period of the Coronavirus crisis, we continue to see the importance of helping to bring new Olim, who empower the State of Israel, and contribute greatly to the strengthening of the Negev, Galilee and Jerusalem.”

This flight was scheduled and planned in full coordination with the Israeli government and in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health. All Olim who boarded the flight produced a negative PCR Coronavirus test and will complete mandatory quarantine in Israel.

העולים החדשים
צילום: שחר עזרן