July 14, 2024
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Nefesh B’Nefesh Closes 2023 With 720 North American Olim Amidst Iron Swords War

The last week of 2023 alone brought 200 new olim, with nearly 4,200 requests to open aliyah files in the last quarter, an increase of over 120% compared to 2022.

(Credit: Yonit Schiller)

(Courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh) Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, has recorded 720 newcomers who arrived in Israel since the onset of the war, with 200 of them landing just in the last week of 2023.

In the last quarter, 4,175 requests to open aliyah files were submitted by individuals and families interested in making Israel their new home, in comparison to 1,985 in 2022. Of these individuals, 3,709 plan to make aliyah from North America (as opposed to from within Israel as part of the “guided aliyah” process), which is a 142% increase compared to last year. Deeper analysis of the data has shown that the main reason for the increase in aliyah interest is due to Zionism (50%), while the issue of antisemitism drives only a small number of the applicants (6%).

“The significant number of new immigrants to Israel during the Iron Swords War and the tremendous increase in requests to open aliyah files are an important demonstration of Zionism and a beautiful expression of solidarity with the country, providing us with a much-needed boost to our morale,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer. “Together with our partners at The Jewish Agency for Israel and Nefesh B’Nefesh, we are working to improve the absorption process by easing the bureaucracy as well as helping with Hebrew learning and job placements. We believe that full integration of the newcomers will contribute greatly to Israeli society and economic growth.”

(Credit: Yonit Schiller)

In total, 3,020 individuals from North America have made aliyah in 2023. Among the newcomers who arrived this year with the assistance of Nefesh B’Nefesh are 545 families, 616 children, 958 single men and women and 432 retirees. The average age of olim over the last year is 32 years old, with the oldest being 100 and the youngest 3 months. The olim came from all over North America, most notably New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Maryland and Ontario. The most sought-after destinations of the olim this year were Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Ra’anana.

“Our olim never cease to amaze us as they prove their commitment to fulfilling the Zionist dream of making Israel their home,” said Tony Gelbart, co-founder and chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “These individuals have not only remained steadfast in their desire to make aliyah despite the war and escalating regional tensions but have felt an even stronger impetus to do so out of a profound sense of connection and solidarity with the Jewish people and our homeland. In light of the significant surge in aliyah submissions, we are entering 2024 with optimism and, together with our partners, are prepared to welcome every individual who chooses the state of Israel with open arms.”

The olim who arrived in Israel in 2023 hold a variety of occupations, the most prominent of which is the field of medicine. In 2023, 65 doctors and 28 nurses arrived in Israel, most of whom began the process of converting their medical licenses during the annual Nefesh B’Nefesh “MedEx,” established to expedite the license-conversion process and enable the medical practitioners to swiftly integrate into Israel society upon their arrival.

(Credit: Yonit Schiller)

“Aliyah in these times is another expression of the partnership of world Jewry in building, and now in rebuilding, the state of Israel,” said Chairman of The Jewish Agency Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog. “I embrace each and every one of the olim who are building their lives in Israel these days and call on all of Israel to receive them with love and open arms. The Jewish Agency will continue to work, together with its partners in Israel and around the world, to strengthen the resilience of Israel’s society as a whole.”

In addition, 231 young individuals who made aliyah in 2023 will serve as lone soldiers in the IDF as part of the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, and 35 young women will be lone national service volunteers with the “Ori” Program.

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