On the first day of Operation Protective Edge, 64 Americans immigrated to Israel, where they said they felt safe and at home.

Despite the escalating security situation in Israel, 64 new Americans made aliyah (immigration) to Israel on Tuesday with Nefesh B’Nefesh, a non-profit organization that facilitates the process. The olim (immigrants) hail from Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia.The youngest immigrant is an eight-month-old baby; the oldest, Lottie Herman, is 92. Herman, who fled Germany in 1939 to America, will be settling in Jerusalem.

Becky Kupchan, 26, proudly shows her Israeli citizenship card upon making aliyah from Chicago to Be'er Sheva on Tuesday. (Photo: Sasson Tiram, courtesy Nefesh B'Nefesh)

Becky Kupchan, 26, proudly shows her Israeli citizenship card upon making aliyah from Chicago to Be’er Sheva on Tuesday. (Photo: Sasson Tiram, courtesy Nefesh B’Nefesh)

Among the other olim who arrived Tuesday morning was Becky Kupchan, 26, from Chicago. Kupchan will be moving to Beer Sheva, the largest city in southern Israel.

“Although the security situation in Israel is very tense right now – and in Be’er Sheva, where I’m about to move, rockets are falling – I am not afraid and I trust the Israeli government and the IDF,” said Kupchan upon her arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. “I’m a Jew and I’ve always dreamed about making aliyah to Israel, my home — and at home you always feel safe.”

“The olim who’ve chosen to make aliyah to Israel during these challenging days are real heroes, and each one of them fills our heart with pride and great inspiration,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Becky from Chicago, who has chosen to live in the city of Be’er Sheva in the south, is one of them, and we will do whatever we can to assist her in her new home in the State of Israel.”

This group’s aliyah was facilitated in partnership with the Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish National Fund and Nefesh B’Nefesh.

According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, 97 percent of its olim have remained in Israel thanks to its support programs and comprehensive social services to more than 38,000 newcomers.

The new Israeli citizens will be moving to Beit Shemesh, Givat Shmuel, Hadera, Jerusalem, Karmiel, Modiin, Nes Tziona, Ra’anana, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva.

Author: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency