El Al plane
The upcoming Shabbat will be especially moving for 106 American children. It will be their last Shabbat in the US, before they climb on an El Al airplane on Monday and take off for their new home, in the State of Israel.
The passengers on this special flight already know they should not expect to get much shut eye. The reason: nearly half of the passengers are kids, and most of then are under 9-years-old. The flight, organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh, together with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund, will bring new immigrants to Israel from the US and from Canada.
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The flight will also include former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as one of its passengers. “It is very moving to accompany these children on their way to their true home, in Israel,” Shalit said.
On this special flight, of the expected 106 children, 56 will be girls and 50 will be boys. The youngest is a 2-month-old girl, the oldest is a 17-year-old boy.
In order to assist the parents in watching over the children and to keep the kids busy during the long flight and the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion airport, Nefesh B'Nefesh will be distributing coloring books, games and toys, special t-shirts, surprises, and even a story hour in business class.
Throughout 2013, it is expected that 989 children will make aliyah to Israel via the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. This is a 20% increase in comparison to 2012.
“It warms the heart to see that more and more parents in North America understand that today, Israel is a great place to raise children,” said Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh. “It fills us with optimism, because these children are the future of the State of Israel.”
The new immigrants are planning to live in settlements in the Galilee and in the Negev, as part of joint projects of Nefesh B'Nefesh and the JNF called, “Go North,” and “Go South.”
In the eleven years of Nefesh B'Nefesh's existence, it has brought 35,000 new immigrants to Israel from the US and from Britian.
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