Itongadol.- The Nefesh B’Nefesh first ever ‘Children Aliyah’ flight landed safely at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday morning. On the El Al flight, 106 children with their parents, along with 54 singles, left North America to make their new homes in Israel.
Nearly 1,000 kids making aliyah in 2013
The flight itself was a little unusual – coloring books, games and custom-made T-shirts were all prepared beforehand to keep the children occupied during the long flight.
“We are supporting this project because this is the best of Zionistic endeavors,” said Shamai Keinan, a member of the Keren Kayemeth L’Israel Board of Directors, who accompanied the group of new olim during the flight.
“This is the 50th plane of olim that Nefesh B’Nefesh has sent Israel in the past seven years,” Keinan told Tazpit News Agency. “It is a very blessed and moving journey for all the families and people involved.”
In cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh is helping 989 children with their families make aliyah throughout 2013. Nefesh B’Nefesh proudly noted that this year’s number is a 20% increase compared to the 822 children that made aliyah in 2012.
This summer alone will bring 2,500 olim to Israel via Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah flights. Many will be moving to northern and southern Israel, to strengthen the country’s peripheries. Others will be joining the IDF including 13 from the current group of olim.
“As we welcome our 35,000th oleh, it is exciting to see so many children amongst the Zionistic modern day pioneers who are helping to build and secure the future of the State of Israel”, said Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Tony Gelbart.
“This new generation is joining young adults volunteering for the IDF and olim moving to Israel’s North and South to help strengthen the periphery, to infuse the country with renewed passion and idealism.”
A special ceremony for the new Israeli citizens, who had also been accompanied during the flight by former IDF captive Gilad Shalit, took place at the airport where hundreds of families and friends as well as Israeli dignitaries came to welcome the new group.