Wishing to return to their roots and better connect with their Jewish identity, Rolando Kohl from Argentina and his wife Carolina arrived in Israel with their three children and two dogs just days before Israel celebrates 75 years of independence.
Kohl’s father, who served as a paratrooper in the 1956 Sinai War, always dreamed of moving to Israel with his family, but he passed away last year before that dream could be realized.
“He was an ardent Zionist and his heart has always been here in Israel,” Rolando said.
“We had dreamed of coming together, but he did not get to see that dream turn into reality. In a way, we are fulfilling it for him.”
Arriving in Israel at this special time of year just days before the Jewish state commemorates its annual Memorial Day immediately followed by Independence Day, Ronaldo added, “It’s a bittersweet feeling to be here as Israelis for the first time”, he says.
“It makes us think of the people who sacrificed so much and lost everything so that we could be here today. We are privileged to be able to live in the Jewish homeland and we do not take it for granted. We are living the dream of our ancestors. I want my children to know that we should do our best to be good citizens and give back to this country that has received us.”
Seeking a better life for their family, the family arrived with the help of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) in order to give their children the opportunity to have the best possible future in Israel with the Jewish people.
“To see the way the IFCJ staff cares about olim (immigrants), the dedication that they show when addressing all of our questions and concerns…it is heart-warming and unforgettable”, he said. “Once we settle in, we want to help in any way we can to help others who are in the same situation as we were and to give back to the organization.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been in operation for 40 years involved with facilitating the immigration of about 750,000 Jews to Israel. Over that period the IFCJ has invested over NIS 800 million toward that goal.
The fellowship has been a main supporter of the Jewish Agency’s work to promote and facilitate Aliyah and even partnered in the establishment of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
In 2014 the organization began independently working to facilitate Aliya and has since helped over 42,000 people from 30 nations come home to Israel.