Soon-to-be-soldiers exiting the flight on the runway at Ben
Gurion airport.

PM Netanyahu Greets Aliyah Flight Bringing Record Number of North Americans Olim Enlisting in IDF

Newcomers arrive as IDF charges NBN and FIDF to run newly established International Lone Soldiers Program

posted: 8/14/12

This summer’s second charter Aliyah flight from the USA arrived on Tuesday, August 14th, bringing some 350 new Olim to Israel - including 127 young men and women who will be joining the IDF. The special Nefesh B’Nefesh – FIDF flight was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and Tzofim Garin Tzabar. Today’s newcomers are among over 4,800 American, Canadian and British Jews making Aliyah this year, which marks Nefesh B’Nefesh’s tenth anniversary.

The arrival of a record 127 new IDF soldiers comes on the heels of the IDF charging the Friends of the IDF and Nefesh B’Nefesh to expand their existing partnership, which provides comprehensive support for Lone Soldiers, internationally. The program offers assistance before and during army service as well as with post-army acclimation into Israeli life.

As part of this program, Lone Soldiers will receive financial aid, emotional support, quarterly care packages and adoptive families. The program also offers guidance to parents of Lone Soldiers. Upon being discharged from the army, Lone Soldiers will receive assistance with career counseling, job placements, education, economic guidance and post-army integrative services.

The soon-to-be soldiers being greeted at a special ceremony by
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion airport. 

There are currently over 2,700 Lone Soldiers from around the world serving in the IDF - over 900 from North America, 625 from Russia, 390 from the Ukraine and 250 from France. Under the new arrangement, prospective Lone Soldiers from around the world will have access to the entire range of Nefesh B’Nefesh services throughout every stage of their Aliyah process, in various languages - including English, French, Russian and Spanish.

“Each of the 350 people that made Aliyah today have decided to link their personal future with the future of the Jewish state and the Jewish people. But the new IDF soldiers have also decided to defend the Jewish future – a privilege that wasn’t accorded to previous generations of Jews. We are proud of you,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the ceremony. “Together with the 127 soldiers and 93 children arriving today are 350 olim. In the 10 years Nefesh B’Nefesh has been operating, they have brought 33,000 olim – mostly from the U.S.A. This is a tremendous accomplishment.”

FIDF has been supporting an array of wellbeing programs for all Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF, including new immigrants, orphans, or Israeli-born soldiers estranged from their families. Through this expanded partnership, FIDF will be able to provide more opportunities and services to Lone Soldiers from across the world.

FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon said "the State of Israel and the IDF exist to ensure the safety of all Jews around the world and, therefore, the IDF can and should be the melting pot of the Jewish people. The volunteer soldiers who come from all over the world serve as role models, exemplifying the notion that our strength is in our unity. We hope to multiply the number of volunteers who make Aliyah and serve in the IDF."

“This exciting new initiative will greatly benefit all the brave young men and women who choose to come to Israel and help protect the country,” said Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Tony Gelbart. “We are thrilled that FIDF has given us the opportunity to extend the level of service and care that we already provide, so that Lone Soldiers from around the world will now all receive the same high level of support.”

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