of North American Jews Make Aliyah to Israel
Hundreds of Jewish
U.S. and Canadian immigrants to Israel arrived in their new homeland
last week, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The group, organized by the
organization Nefesh B’ Nefesh ("Soul to Soul"), comprised
about 330 U.S. and Canadian Jews.
Immigrants from the United States and Canada
disembark from the first of two Israeli commercial airplanes
arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv bringing
close to 1,000 immigrating to Israel Wednesday July 9, 2003.
Guttenfelder / AP
In New York on Tuesday,
before her flight took off, Tali Berman said she was born in America
but was flying home to Israel with her husband and 15-month-old
daughter. “Now, as things are becoming more intense, it’s
an important time to make a claim that the Jewish state has a right
to exist,” she said.
Nefesh B’ Nefesh
is sponsoring the moves of about 940 North American Jews this year,
spokesman George Birnbaum said. About 300 are set to come July 22,
with the rest in groups of 30 or so over the following six weeks.
"In terms of immigrants moving en masse, there haven’t been
these numbers in 25 or 30 years," Birnbaum said. The privately
funded organization helped with 519 moves last year, aiding prospective
immigrants with bureaucratic issues and providing financial assistance.
Prior to the
immigrants’ arrival, Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu
said he was pleased they were moving to Israel without special government
assistance. He described the importance of Aliyah, "particularly
during this difficult time." About 2,040 North American Jews
moved to Israel last year, and the numbers are up more than 20 percent
this year, according to the Jewish Agency. "It’s the feeling
of the community that this time Israel is really needing them,"
Michael Landsberg, executive director of the agency’s North American
Aliyah movement, said.
Israeli Consulate New York