Israel welcomed 104 olim (new immigrants) from North America at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday. The group arrived on a specially chartered New York-Tel Aviv flight, facilitated by the organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with the Israeli Aliyah and Integration Ministry, the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) and Jewish National Fund-USA.

The group included 28 families, 18 singles and 27 retirees—the eldest of whom is 98 and the youngest four months old—from New York, New Jersey, Ontario, California, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Maryland. All passengers produced a negative PCR coronavirus test prior to arrival and will undergo mandatory quarantine in Israel.

The olim have chosen to make their new homes in various locations across the country, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh, Nahariya, Ra’anana, Herzliya and Netanya. Thirty-five of the arrivals are making the move as part of the KKL-Nefesh B’Nefesh “Go Beyond” program, which provides enhanced aliyah packages and increased services to new immigrants moving to Israel’s periphery and capital.

“I am honored and excited to welcome today’s new olim from North America,” said Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata. “Despite these challenging times, we are doing our utmost to expedite aliyah from around the world.”

Echoing her sentiment, Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog added, “Despite the significant travel restrictions during the pandemic, we’ve succeeded in bringing tens of thousands of Jews home to Israel, proving that nothing can stop aliyah.”

According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, since the beginning of April 2020, more than 3,500 North Americans have made aliyah; 8,100 aliyah applications have been submitted; and more than 17,000 people have contacted the organization for information about immigrating to Israel.

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