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The Last Immigrants of 2005
New Israelis Arrive on the Last Nefesh B'Nefesh Flight of 2005
by Judy Lash Balint
December 28, 2005

See who arrived in Israel today at http://flickr.com/photos/jerusalemdiaries/.
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Ben Gurion Airport--An El Al plane marked with "Chanukah Aliya 2005" brought 220 new immigrants from North America to Israel today. The seventh chartered aliya flight of 2005 sponsored by Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency brought the total number of N. American olim up to 3,100 for the year--a record number not seen since 1984.

Despite the Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Jewish communities and kibbutzim in the southern part of the country and Katyushas raining down on Kiryat Shmona in the north causing significant property damage, the new immigrants stepping off the plane are optimistic and passionate about their new home.

Some, like Ruth Genauer, 86, from Seattle, WA are reuniting with family (a daughter, son and many grandchildren). Others like Yisrael and Devorah Guttman from Ottawa left close family (two adult kids) behind.

A few, including Bessie Bloom from Florida, kissed the ground in an emotional homecoming.

All the olim were welcomed by almost 500 flag-waving, cheering family and friends--most of whom are recent immigrants themselves.

"This year's numbers are just a warm-up for 2006," promised Nefesh B'Nefesh co-founder Tony Gelbart.

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