CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - Before 2008 comes to an end, 500 new immigrants will call Israel home.
One hundred Jews from the former Soviet Union were welcomed on Tuesday at a special Hanukkah lighting ceremony at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. On their first day in Israel, they were treated to the traditional Israeli Hanukkah fare - suffganyiot - jelly donuts.
On December 29, two flights are scheduled to arrive from New York and one from London.
Finally, on the last day of the year, another planeload of North American immigrants will arrive from New York, while 100 South African Jews will spend the first day of 2009 in their homeland.
Nefesh b'Nefesh (Soul to Soul) - an organization that facilitates North American and British aliyah (immigration to Israel), helped sponsor the flights from New York and England.
Jewish Agency spokesman Michael Hankelowitz said most of these people are moving to Israel because they want to, not because they're fleeing their former homes.
"No one is running away from anything, but rather choosing to come to Israel for positive reasons," Hankelowitz said, calling it an "aliyah of choice."
Source: israel national news