Dozens of new immigrants (Olim) from around the world arrived at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport on Monday, in a series of flights ahead of Independence Day.

The flights were organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), bringing Olim from countries across Europe and South America including France, Ukraine, Spain, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Bolivia.

Some of the new immigrants were influenced by the recent rise in anti-Semitism around the world, which has caused a subsequent spike in Aliyah to Israel.

Gregory Seltral, a French immigrant in his thirties who came to Israel with his wife, baby daughter, and parents, was personally affected by anti-Semitic violence in his hometown of Toulouse. Seltral was an acquaintance of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, who was murdered in a terror attack at the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse in 2012.

Leonid and Irina Patzneker, from Kharkov, Ukraine, also cited growing anti-Semitism as a major factor in their decision to move. The couple immigrated to Israel along with Leonid's parents, David and Ra'eesa, both of whom are in their 80s.

Leonid and Irina explained that along with extreme nationalist and xenophobia, anti-Semitism was on the rise in Kharkov. To his surprise, Leonid, chemistry professor, found a position at the University of Ariel before arriving in Israel.

In total, 25 families arrived on Monday, totaling more than 50 new Olim, including 22 children and 4 babies. The age of the new immigrants ranged from 3 months to 93 years.

New olim
New olimNoam Moskowitz

The new arrivals were brought together to a special absorption preparation seminar, organized by the IFCJ, at the Ramada hotel in Netanya.

After a festive welcoming ceremony, the new Olim were separated into groups based on their native language for a series of lectures meant to prepare them for their new lives in Israel.

In addition to the flights, the IFCJ has provided the Olim with special grants of $1,000 per adult and $500 per child. In addition to the IFCJ grants, the immigrants are eligible for state absorption grants and new immigrant benefits from the Ministry of Absorption. 

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the IFCJ, welcomed the Olim at the absorption preparation seminar.

"Aliyah to Israel is the most basic Zionist value. There is no other way more exciting to celebrate Independence Day than with the company of new Olim coming from all over the world, with the help of the IFCJ. In the past year, we have brought almost 3,500 new Olim to Israel and are working relentlessly to allow every Jewish person worldwide who wishes to make Aliyah, to be able to do so. Upon their arrival, we help and personally accompany each Oleh until his full absorption in the Israel society and economy".

New arrivals to Israel
New arrivals to Israel