Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency, KKL-JNF and Jewish National Fund-USA, welcomed 95 new Olim this morning. The Olim on this group Aliyah flight were comprised of 35 families and singles ranging in ages from one year to 80 years old; and come from a variety of states, including Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Quebec and Texas.
“Summer is always the busiest season for Aliyah, and this year is no exception with over 2,000 Olim choosing to make Israel their home in these eight weeks alone,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “Nearly half of the Olim projected to make Aliyah each year arrive during the summer as it’s a natural time period to make the transition to a new country before the school year begins. We are pleased to see that there has been an increase in Olim choosing the flexibility of a group Aliyah flight, so that they can better tailor their Aliyah date to their specific needs and timelines, and we look forward to assisting these Olim throughout their Aliyah journey for years to come.”
Today’s new Olim will be moving to cities all across Israel such as Givat Shmuel, Modi’in, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and Ma’alot in the North of the country. Nearly 1/3 of the Olim of this group, 28 individuals, will be making Jerusalem their home in Israel. This group flight precedes this summer’s Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight expected to land on August 14th at Ben Gurion Airport as well as several more group flights scheduled over the upcoming weeks of summer.
Among the Olim who landed this morning was 80-year-old Ray Negari, who emigrated with his wife in the 1960s from Iran to the United States. This morning, he said excitedly after landing, “Since my childhood in Iran, my father used to tell me and my seven brothers and sisters stories about the land of Israel. A few years ago, at the age of 77, I found myself deciding that the time had finally come to fulfill my dream and create a home for myself in the Jewish State. It’s never too late to live out your dreams. I am proud and happy to know that despite the years that have gone by, I am going to be setting up my home in Israel and be able to enjoy living with my brothers and sisters in Israel as we have always dreamt.”
There were a few Olim from this morning’s flight who plan on joining the IDF as Lone Soldiers. Omer Doar (18), from New Jersey said, “Since I was young, I heard stories about my mother’s uncle, Alberto, who served in the IDF’s 890 Paratroopers Battalion and was killed in the Yom Kippur War. I feel it is my familial and Zionist duty to step up and protect the country and continue in his path. I hope I will also be able to serve in the Paratroopers Brigade and in time be able to proudly wear my uncle’s red beret.” Doar’s sister May also made Aliyah a few years ago and served in the IDF. She is now studying Special Education in Jerusalem. Another of this morning’s Olim, Gal Gur Lavi (18) from New Jersey, has two parents who served in the Israeli Air Force. When asked why she is making Aliyah and planning on joining the IDF, she responded simply and confidently, “Israel is my home.”