What better way to celebrate 70 years of Israeli independence and Zionism than with 700 new ‘Olim’!

By: United with Israel Staff

Israel has chosen an emblematic way to celebrate its 70th independence anniversary by welcoming 700 olim, new immigrants, who are arriving from around the globe to the Jewish state to call it their home.

Incoming Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, outgoing Chairman Natan Sharansky and Minister of Aliyah Sofa Landver were present at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday to welcome hundreds of new immigrants from France, Russia, Argentina and Brazil.

Herzog said at the ceremony that “it is exciting to receive new immigrants in the State of Israel upon the opening of my term, and I hope that they will acclimatize quickly, that they will find a warm and loving home here and have a happy life in Israel. We can really rejoice in their joy.”

On Wednesday, Israel will greet 232 North Americans due to arrive on an special Aliyah flight chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.

The passengers include 127 children under age 17, representing more than half of the flight’s olim. This diverse group of newcomers includes people from 20 US states and one Canadian province, individuals ranging in age from 23 days to 80 years old, 34 families, 18 singles, three sets of twins, six future IDF soldiers, and 12 medical professionals.

Thirty-five percent of the flight (88 olim) will be moving to Israel’s periphery, locations in the north and south outside of the center’s metropolitan areas, under the joint Nefesh B’Nefesh – KKL “Go Beyond” initiative.

Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh is dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing bureaucratic obstacles.

The support and comprehensive social services that Nefesh B’Nefesh has provided to over 50,000 newcomers has ensured that 90 percent of its olim have remained in Israel.

Over the past year, Israel has welcomed over 28,000 new immigrants. Some 3.5 million people have made Aliyah (immigration to Israel) since 1948, making up 42 percent of the total population.

In 2018, over 70 years after the Holocaust, the world’s largest Jewish population lives in Israel. This figure represents 43 percent of world Jewry.