— by Rebecca Modell
Thirty new newcomers to Israel from North America arrived last week at Ben Gurion Airport, and 60 others already in Israel became new citizens through Nefesh B’Nefesh, in conjunction with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.
At the same time, at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Tel Hashomer base in the country’s central region, 104 “lone soldiers” — those who immigrate to Israel without family and enlist — officially became IDF soldiers as part of the Friends of the IDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program.
More after the jump.
Among those who became citizens was London native Josh Steele, a finalist from Israel’s “Master Chef” TV cooking competition, who was the show’s first Anglo participant. He and the other 59 new Israeli citizens made Aliyah as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Guided Aliyah program.
The 104 lone soldiers that enlisted came from more than 20 countries, including Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Italy, India, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, the U.S., U.K., Ukraine and Venezuela.
Nefesh B’Nefesh’s founder and executive director, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, said, “The fulfillment of the Zionistic aspirations of these 194 Olim while Israel gears up for its 66th Independence Day highlights the integral role of Aliyah in strengthening the State of Israel.”
With 90 new olim, and 104 new young IDF Lone Soldier olim coming from over 20 countries from around the world, I couldn’t think of a better gift the State of Israel can receive for its 66th birthday.
The Guided Aliyah program allows citizens of the U.S., Canada, and the UK currently residing in Israel the opportunity to make Aliyah through Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, while receiving the full array of Nefesh B’Nefesh services. These services include assisted government processing, financial aid and post Aliyah assistance.