North American Jews Emigrate To Israel
By Chris Mitchell
CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief
People living in Israel face the menace of constant danger of Palestinian terrorist attacks, multiplied since the fall of 2000. Even so, despite of the worst violence in years, new immigrants from North America are coming to Israel.
Hundreds arrived this past week to begin new lives in the Jewish state. The immigrants got help from an unexpected source: Christians helped with funds as well as Jews.
This was the largest number of North American immigrants to Israel to arrive at one time in 25 years--nearly 400 people.
Nefesh B'Nefesh, which means "Soul to Soul" offered one-time grants to help settle the new families and individuals in their ancient homeland. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews funded this group of immigrants.
According to the founder of IFCJ, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, many American Christians donated, and helped send the new residents to Israel, because they believe in the state of Israel and want to bless Israel.
Many of the Jews arriving in Israel said it was like a homecoming! Hundreds of Israelis, singing "Shalom aleichem" (Peace to you), joyously greeted the new immigrants.
Daniel Wightman is an immigrant from Los Angeles, California. He said, smiling, "We've been waiting, really all our lives, to find our home. And we realized this was it. We kinda were strangers in the United States, in a way, and now with all the things that happened with the Palestinians, and the anti-Semitism, we just realized that Israel has to be here. So we wanted to come help, if we can. We'll give whatever we can."
The goal is to bring at least four planeloads of immigrants a year to Israel and vastly increase the number of North American Jews who return to Israel.
Many Christians see the return of the Jews to Israel in these days as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. So, the immigration of Jews from North America represents a historic moment and dramatic step forward.
Some of the immigrants who arrived said they were tired of waiting for the fighting to end and decided to come now. Others said their desire to be closer to the Biblical homeland and to strengthen the Jewish state outweighed their fears.
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