New Israelis warmly greeted. . . at 3:15 AM
Arutz Sheva: The new olim (immigrants) numbered about 85, and were the last group of the summer sponsored by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization.
Although the new Israelis arrived at 3:15 AM, scores of friends, family and Aliyah activists showed up at the airport to welcome them home to Israel. This was the fourth large group of North American olim to have arrived this summer. Over 1,500 North American Jews have made Aliyah with the help of grants from Nefesh B'Nefesh this summer alone --the same number as were assisted by Nefesh B’Nefesh in the previous two years combined.
Three previous chartered flights full of olim, one in July and two in August, were treated to a festive ceremony attended by government officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Today's olim did not expect a grand reception, but were still greeted by well-wishers and pro-Aliyah activists with banners, drums and guitars.
A contingent from the grassroots Aliyah movement Kumah-Americans Return to Zion were on hand, holding banners and distributing bumper stickers reading "Aliyah Revolution." As the new olim came out into the arrivals hall, Kumah members blew shofars, symbolizing the fulfillment of the daily prayer,"Sound the great ram's horn for our freedom, and raise the banner to gather our exiles and speedily gather us together from the four corners of the Earth to our Land."
According to Maariv, the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel has doubled in recent years.
Chaim Spiller, a 42-year-old Orthodox Jew from Paris, immigrated with his wife and two children in March 2003 and bought a $400,000 apartment here, even as he held on to his men's clothing business in Paris. He said he had long felt a "latent anti-semitism" from some neighbors and said the waves of attacks by Muslims confirmed his decision.
Referring to his skullcap, Spiller said, "You can't put on a kipa in Paris because it's too dangerous."