18 new immigrants arrive
18 new immigrants arrive Yonit Schiller

Eighteen new Olim (immigrants to Israel) landed at Ben Gurion airport Tuesday evening as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh group Aliyah flight, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and Jewish National Fund-USA. These Olim arrived amidst a wave of increased Aliyah interest among North American Jews.

Throughout April 2020, 455 new Aliyah applications were submitted to Nefesh B’Nefesh (in comparison to 302 in April 2019) and 642 individuals downloaded and began working on their Aliyah applications (in comparison to 417 downloaded applications in April 2019). May 2020 is showing a similar pattern with an even greater increase.

“Aliyah is continuing and even on the rise, as it is increasingly being considered a viable option for many Jews around the world. As such, we are committed to finding solutions for all those who want to make Aliyah amidst the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Over the last eighteen years, we have provided solutions through challenging times and circumstances. We are now, as always, working around the clock to help those interested in Aliyah fulfill their dreams and offer practical tools through a variety of virtual programming and individual guidance.”

“The State of Israel is the home of all Jews everywhere, regardless of where they currently live,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Yoav Galant (Colonel in Reserves). “The absorption of Olim has been a national mission since the founding of the State until today. Even during wars and crises, this activity does not cease. The gates of Israel are open to Olim at all times and this gives me great pride!”

“We are delighted to welcome these new Olim to Israel,” said David Breakstone, Deputy Chairman of the Executive, The Jewish Agency for Israel. “The commitment of those who chose to make Aliyah now, in these uncertain times, is remarkable and very moving. And it is matched by the commitment on our side to take the steps needed to enable the continuation of Aliyah to Israel.”

Yesterday’s new Olim will go directly into quarantine as mandated by the Israeli government for fourteen days. They ranged in ages from one-years-old to 66-years-old and hailed from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida and Illinois, and will be living in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh, Ramat Gan and Yafo.

This group flight follows twenty Olim who made Aliyah last Thursday through Guided Aliyah, a process in which individuals already living in Israel officially change their status to Israeli citizens.

"Ever since my wife and I first visited Israel over thirty years ago, we have been dreaming of the day when we could come home permanently," said new Oleh from Cleveland, Ken Goldblatt. "After many visits, and years of instilling a love of Israel in our children, we are excited to be joining our daughter in Israel, where she will soon be getting married, and look forward to welcoming our son and his family in the next two months! While it is difficult to leave family and friends in America, we hope to travel back often to visit."

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