(JNS.org) Terminal 1 at Ben-Gurion International Airport witnessed tears of joy on Tuesday with the arrival of 221 new immigrants from the U.S. and Canada, who traveled on a special flight arranged by the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah agency in conjunction with the Israeli Immigrant Absorption Ministry, the Jewish National Fund, and the Jewish Agency.
The new immigrants embraced each other with joy and were given a warm welcome from a delegation of female Israel Defense Forces soldiers and youngsters, who greeted them with songs and waved Israeli flags.
Kaley Zeitouni, 29, who made aliyah alone from Los Angeles, wrapped herself in an Israeli flag, kissed the ground, and couldn’t hold back her tears.
“I left my suitcases and just dropped to the ground,” Zeitouni told Israel Hayom. “I felt the entire history of the Jewish people and also our future. It was so moving to arrive in Israel. It’s been my dream to make aliyah for over 10 years.”
The arriving group was met by Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Member of Knesset Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), whose grandmother was one of the immigrants.
“The moment I welcomed them next to the plane, I remembered how, one night 25 years ago, I got off a plane like that one,” Elkin said. “It was the first step I took in the State of Israel. I’m so proud of what is happening here, and what we’re doing this summer proves that Zionism and aliyah are not a chapter in the history books. ... They are the reality of our lives and also our future.”