JERUSALEM, Israel -- Nefesh b'Nefesh celebrated its 50th charter flight carrying new North American immigrants to Israel on Monday, with 331 new arrivals onboard.
Among the planeload of olim chadashim (new immigrants) are 125 aspiring Israel Defense Forces recruits. A year ago, Nefesh b'Nefesh helped 127 new recruits make aliyah (immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return).
More than 1,000 Israelis were on hand at Ben Gurion International Airport to welcome the Jewish state's newest citizens.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar called them the "core of Zionism," the Times of Israel reported.
"Today you took the biggest and most important decision you could ever take -- to leave the home you're familiar with, immigrate to Israel and build your home in the home of the Jewish people," Sa'ar told them. "You are making the Jewish nation and the State of Israel stronger. You are making the IDF stronger."
Sa'ar told the new recruits the hundreds who came to welcome them with open arm bring a "clear message" to the new arrivals.
"You are not alone," he said. "We are with you. We will assist you and support you along the way."