Nefesh B’Nefesh facilitated 27% of global Aliyah to Israel in 2009
(NEW YORK; 29 December 2009) – The final charter Aliyah flight for 2009 – organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption – departed today from JFK airport, carrying 210 new immigrants to Israel from the USA and Canada.
Today’s flight caps off a record year of North American Aliyah, in which 3,800 Olim moved to Israel from the USA and Canada. This was the largest number of Jews to make Aliyah from North America within one year since 1983.
Additionally, Nefesh B’Nefesh facilitated the Aliyah of 621 Jews from the UK, bringing the total number of Olim assisted by Nefesh B’Nefesh (in cooperation with the Jewish Agency) to 4,421. This figure not only reflects an organizational increase of over 38% from last year but also indicates that Nefesh B’Nefesh has assisted 27% of the global Aliyah to Israel this year.
Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Tony Gelbart said:
“The rising interest in Aliyah from North America is very encouraging for the State of Israel, and is a clear indication that Aliyah is becoming more of a mainstream choice for many Jews. We are confident that the numbers of Western Olim will continue to rise and look forward to helping make the move easier and more successful for thousands more newcomers in 2010 and beyond.”
At the welcome ceremony to be held in Ben Gurion airport, Israeli Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Cooperation and Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galil MK Silvan Shalom will announce a new joint government initiative with Nefesh B’Nefesh to encourage Aliyah to Israel’s periphery. As part of the initiative, the Ministry of the Development of the Negev and Galil and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption will provide increased support for Olim who move to the North and South of the country as of 2010.
The new Olim will also be greeted by Nathan Jacobson, who was recently appointed the Canadian Chair of Nefesh B’Nefesh and generously sponsored the charter flight. Mr. Jacobson is a well known international businessman involved in various multinational companies and is heavily involved with multiple Jewish and Israeli philanthropies around the world.
Among the 210 Olim on the flight are 81 singles, who are among over 950 singles who have made Aliyah through Nefesh B’Nefesh this year. In response to the overwhelming reaction among Israelis to the arrival of so many single western Olim this past summer, Nefesh B’Nefesh has teamed up with popular Jewish dating site ‘JDate Israel’ (www.jdate.co.il) to create a portal for its Olim to meet Israeli singles.
Hundreds of family members, friends and Israeli dignitaries will gather at Ben Gurion airport to welcome the country’s newest Olim at a festive arrival ceremony. Those attending will include: Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Cooperation and Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galil MK Silvan Shalom; Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky; Senior Deputy Head of the Division for Promotion of Aliyah at the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption Shifra Kirshenbaum; Nefesh B’Nefesh Canadian Chair Nathan Jacobson; Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Erez Halfon; and Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. Here is a link to video of the arrival on December 30, 2009 (Windows Media Player or plug-in required).
Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles of Aliyah. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its 23,000 newcomers, has ensured that 98% of its Olim have remained in Israel. www.nbn.org.il