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FM Liberman meets US Secretary Kerry in Washington

FM Liberman: Ultimately, the aim of all Islamic terror is one and the same: the destruction of Western civilization. Hence, just as we cannot negotiate with ISIS, we cannot negotiate with Hamas.


Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met in Washington D.C. with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Minister Liberman told Secretary Kerry that Israel deeply appreciates America's support during Operation Protective Edge and that the Israeli leadership and people know that the United States is Israel's greatest friend. FM Liberman asked Secretary Kerry to have the State Department's travel warning to Israel changed in the wake of the end of Operation Protective Edge, so that American citizens will know that there is no reason not to visit Israel, and they will not be in any danger.

FM Liberman told Secretary Kerry that Israel supports the United States in its efforts to form a broad international front against ISIS, and stands ready to help in this task should it be asked, taking into consideration the sensitivities of the states taking part and the needs of the United States.

Minister Liberman noted that the war against terror, in all its forms, is the most important taks of the free world today. We cannot differentiate one form of terror from another. The Hamas terrorist activities against Israel and against the people of Gaza are no different from the terror of ISIS. The difference is only semantic and in the media approach adopted by the organizations. Ultimately, the aim of all Islamic terror is one and the same: the destruction of Western civilization. Hence, just as we cannot negotiate with ISIS, we cannot negotiate with Hamas. As long as Hamas rules in Gaza, there will not be peace or security. Anyone who seeks to advance an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must bring an end to the rule of terror within the Palestinian Authority.

FM Liberman also told Secretary Kerry that the need to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state is part of the same struggle, because Iran is the number one exporter of terror in the world. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the world will be a much more dangerous place and the Middle East will enter a nuclear arms race that will convulse the region even more than today. The world powers must stand firm in their negotiations with Iran and continue the sanctions, because there can be no compromise with terrorism.
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Counter Terrorism Bureau issued a snapshot of travel warnings for Israelis abroad

Among others, warn against attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in Western Europe. Valid travel warning to Turkey

Fear of terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in Western Europe: Counter-Terrorism published today (Monday) a snapshot of Israeli citizens travel warnings, towards the High Holidays.

One of the dangers mentioned is that the global jihadists, including members of "Islamic State" (Daas) citizens of countries in Europe, will return to their home countries after training in Syria and Iraq and will carry out attacks. Among others, noted the attack at the headquarters of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, which killed four people, including two Israelis.

At the headquarters noted that the sequence of the holidays, from New Year's Eve started on September 24 to Simchat Torah that ends on October 16, might be the target for all terrorists in the world in order to exercise the attacks. They also point out that the potential threat is also growing due to the fighting in Gaza during, during which there were many demonstrations against Israeli missions around the world and the volume of anti-Semitic incidents.

Besides Daas, Israel also fear attacks from Iran and Hezbollah that are trying to hit the targets so-called "soft" - Israeli tourist destinations and Jewish symbols, such as Chabad Houses and Jewish communities abroad.
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President Rivlin meets with Norwegian FM Brende

​President Rivlin: The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should be linked to the demilitarization of Gaza, because otherwise Hamas will use the financial aid to further military aims and enhance their ability to attack Israel once again. 


President Reuven Rivlin, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and told him at the start of their meeting, "I would like to welcome you once again to our state and to the region. We appreciate very much your concern and your idea to come to us once again and the appreciation goes with the understanding that you are very much worried about the situation with the people of Gaza."
President Rivlin added that, "The reconstruction of Gaza is one of our interests as much as it is of the all the free world. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should go along with the demilitarization of Gaza because otherwise we can see the next round in no time because the Hamas people once again will spend all the money that the whole world is trying to help them with in order to reconstruct Gaza, and will put it into military aims and the ability to attack Israel once again. We can come to a dead-end once again and we could find ourselves in a very, very serious situation." The President concluded his remarks by saying, "I very much appreciate the idea that you are trying to help all those people who need humanitarian help."
Norwegian Foreign Minister Brende thanked President Rivlin for his kind words and said, "I know that this has been a very difficult summer for Israel. I was here in July and I saw this. It has been tough on Israel and tough on the Palestinian people." He added, "I know now that there are important negotiations on a more permanent ceasefire and the conditions in Gaza under Egyptian leadership and I think that this is important." The Norwegian Foreign Minister also said, "We cannot discuss the Israel and Palestinian situations without looking at in a broader context," and referred to ISIS and the situation in Iraq.
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PM Netanyahu meets with US Congressmen Royce and Engel

​PM Netanyahu: We're fighting not just Israel's war, but a common battle against enemies of mankind. If we don't face down these forces, they will advance, not only in the Middle East, but to every part of the globe.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met with US Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and US Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and said:
"I'm delighted to see two old friends, Congressman Engel and Congressman Royce. You have been wonderful supporters of Israel. It's a reflection of the bipartisan support that Israel enjoys in the United States from both sides of the aisle, from every administration, from every president. It's something that we deeply appreciate: The help for Iron Dome and the support for Israel throughout, our right to defend ourselves against terrorists who break every norm and every rule and who endanger all of us. We're fighting not just Israel's war, but I think a common battle against enemies of mankind – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, ISIS, supported many of them by regimes that propel terrorism to the front, like Iran.
I think this is a challenge to all civilized nations. Israel and the United States stand together and your visit reflects that. I think that we have to understand that if we don't face down these forces, they will advance and they will advance not only in the Middle East, but beyond to Europe, to the United States, to every part of the globe.
So it heartens the people of Israel to have such strong support from the people, the government and the representatives of the United States of America. It's an iron shield for Israel and against human shields that exact horrible, horrible costs from the people of Gaza. So I thank you for both expressions of support."
US Rep. Royce replied:
"Well, thank you Prime Minister. We did want to be here during this time of challenge. Of course Israel's history is one of meeting challenges and you've met this challenge. You'll meet the next one, but we in the United States in a bipartisan way certainly agree with that assessment and as I say, we're here not just to help you meet this challenge, but to have a discussion because when we return to the Foreign Affairs Committee, we're going to have a dialogue about ISIS and about the other threats to this region, and certainly a continued dialogue about Iran, which has frankly helped empower terror in so many ways. And it's our hope that we come up with a concerted, focused plan on what we do about ISIS and how we stop the momentum of ISIS sooner rather than later."
US Rep. Engel added:
"And Mr. Prime Minister, let me say that, as you know, Ed Royce and I are from both parties. We're the leaders on the Foreign Affairs Committee from both parties and there is not a millimeter of difference between us and the Congress on both sides of the aisle when it comes to support for Israel and that the bonds between the United States and Israel are strong, support is bipartisan and that's the way it should be. And as two quick examples of that: In the closing days of the session in Washington, the Congress voted 422 to 8 to replenish funds for the Iron Dome and we also had a resolution which was passed unanimously by voice vote condemning Hamas for using its people as human shields. So this is something, the strong friendship and bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable and always shall be."
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PM Netanyahu Opens the School Year in the South

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Shai Piron Opens the School Year in the South opened the 2014-2015 school year by meeting with first and second grade pupils at the New Amit Torani School in Sderot and the Mevoim School in the Merhavim Regional Council area.

At the New Amit Torani School in Sderot, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the pupils: "Be good friends with each other and be hungry for knowledge. This is what distinguishes us and gives our people special strength. We are the People of the Book and today the people of the tablet as well. We hold on to our heritage and also the future. Study the Bible, our heritage, math, computers and science. Our heritage and the future go hand in hand. Be hungry for knowledge on behalf of the People of Israel, the State of Israel, the Land of Israel, yourselves and your families. We will take care to give you knowledge and security."

Education Minister Piron added: "Today, as you start first grade, I would like to give you an assignment, not homework. Look around. Think about who has fewer friends, look around and ask who made fewer trips over the summer. This is an assignment for each of you. If during the year a child does not come to school because he is sick, don't forget to call him. Treat your teachers with respect. When you talk to each other in the yard, don't forget to talk nicely. Our greatest test is not how we behave in wartime but how we behave in times of peace. Our true test is the test of morality, identity and treating each other properly."

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi told Prime Minister Netanyahu: "I do not think that Sderot has ever had so many visits by a prime minister in such a short time. Mr. Prime Minister, we rely on you and very much appreciate the weight of the responsibility that you took upon yourself in leading this operation along with the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff. We won a great military victory and a great civilian victory. We thank you for your partnership with Sderot and the close attention which proves that Sderot, the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the State of Israel are important."

At the Mevoim School in the Merhavim Regional Council area, Prime Minister Netanyahu told pupils: "I know that you did not have as nice a summer as you had planned. I hope that during the upcoming holidays you will have time to relax, play and be with your families and friends. Be friends with each other. Be good children for your parents and be excellent pupils. Have a safe and successful year. Together we will continue the momentum of development because this is the strongest response to our enemies. They thought that they could drive us out of here. We are building up, and will build up, this country and this part of it."

Merchavim Regional Council Chairman Shai Hajaj told Prime Minister Netanyahu: "On behalf of the residents of Merchavim, I would like to thank you, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and your ministers for the determination and the prudence that you showed during Operation Protective Edge. His was a difficult campaign, militarily and diplomatically, and you ran it, along with the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, with great wisdom, sensitivity and vigor. The first day of the school year is a holiday for us and symbolizes the return to routine. With us here today are the Education Minister and the Education Ministry District Director; this is the time to commend them for the productive cooperation and the desire to help open the school year. The poet Yehuda Amichai wrote: 'It's sad to be the Mayor of Jerusalem. It is terrible. How can any man be the mayor of a city like that? What can he do with her? He will build, and build, and build.' And if that is how it is for the Mayor of Jerusalem, what will the prime minister of the entire State of Israel do? He will build, and build and build. We rely on you Mr. Prime Minister. Here as well you must show leadership and determination and the wisdom that you have shown in security matters. We are excited to host you here in Merhavim on our festive day. May we all have a quiet, productive and meaningful school year."
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Statement by PM Netanyahu


Operation Protective Edge has not ended, because this is a continuing campaign. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations has continued for many years. Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit very hard.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

"First, I would like to personally turn to the IDF soldiers and commanders, to the bereaved families who lost their dear ones in Operation Protective Edge, to the wounded who are recovering in hospital, to the residents of communities close to the Gaza Strip, to the residents of the Negev, the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the coastal plain, and to all citizens of the State of Israel.

I would like to commend you and to thank you for the steadfastness and extraordinary unity that the citizens and soldiers of Israel have shown during the past weeks. I want you to know that the ultimate responsibility for your security and peace is mine, as Prime Minister. I am concerned for the security and peace of all Israelis, both the sons that we have sent to the front and the families that are strong and determined in the home front.

Our goal is that the residents of Kerem Shalom, Sderot and the other communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv will be able to sleep quietly and that the children of Ofakim, Netivot, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva won’t have to run to the protected areas at school.

Along with my colleagues, especially Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who is currently attending a memorial ceremony for IDF soldiers, we are taking all measures to complete the campaign and achieve the goals that we set for ourselves: The restoration of quiet and security for you all. We are doing this in full cooperation, with sagacity, responsibility and determination, and thus shall we continue until the goal is achieved.

One consideration stands before me - the good of the State of Israel. And this consideration is the only one that guides my decision-making, as well as that of the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, no other object, no harsh words from either the Right or the Left, and I condemn all harsh words, and no other interests, only the responsibility for the security and peace of all Israelis. Accordingly, I will continue to act with determination, responsibility and sagacity.

Operation Protective Edge has not ended, not even for a moment, because this is a continuing campaign and I am not speaking only about recent weeks. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations is long and has continued for many years - against Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza, which is part of an Islamic terrorist network the newest member of which is a murderous gang, another terrorist organization, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and it has also attacked Lebanon.

In recent weeks we have hit Hamas very hard on the battlefield. All of the networks that it built in order to attack us have been foiled.

First of all, we prevented - via Iron Dome - attacks by thousands of rockets against our communities. We have killed hundreds of terrorists. We have destroyed thousands of rockets and launchers. We broke up the network of assault tunnels that Hamas built over the years in order to launch simultaneous attacks against our communities and we foiled all of its attempts to attack us from land, sea and air.

This is the harshest blow that Hamas has taken since it was founded. And I remind you that we have already dismantled its capabilities in Judea and Samaria and blocked its attempts to carry out a coup. We did all this before and during the operation. We have hit Hamas very hard. We are determined to continue the campaign by all means for as long as it takes. We will not stop until we have assured full security and a quiet life for the residents of the south and for all Israelis.

Hamas thinks that it can wear us down. It is mistaken. The Israeli people are strong. Instead of attrition, Hamas will be crushed - its infrastructures, terrorists and commanders.

Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit, and not just hit but hit very hard. And if Hamas does not understand this today, it will understand it tomorrow. And if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow because in the Middle East, one needs not just military power but stamina and patience.

My grandfather came here in 1920, here to Jaffa. Several months after he came here, thugs burst into the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa and murdered Jews, in this area, including the well-known author Yosef Haim Brenner. This was almost 94 years ago.

Since then we have been fighting against terrorism - with considerable success. In this time we built our state, developed our cities, developed our economy and created a magnificent army.

Our spirit has not fallen, not even for a moment. On the contrary, it has grown, as has our unity, and we must continue to maintain our internal unity, as well as the courage and resilience of the nation and the home front.

All of these are vital components of our national strength. All of these are foundation stones as we fulfill the mission we have set for ourselves - restoring quiet and security, and I would like to add, in light of the very dramatic changes taking place in our region, not all of them negative, I also add achieving a new diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel."

Following are remarks in English by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference:

I hope President Abbas plays a constructive role. He has an opportunity to do so. I think he has to understand obviously that no one, and least of all Israel can accept the kind of terror attacks that are coming from Hamas. I think that were acting well within our rights, probably more rigorously than any, I would say. No other country has acted more rigorously than Israel in defending itself within legitimate means. And I expect President Abbas to do that.

I will look forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace with Israel, to the end of terror, to fulfilling the previous obligations that we have. And I think this is part and parcel of the larger picture that I'm talking about. We have to think carefully how we tie in the new circumstances to the advantage of peace and against terror.

Hamas is like ISIS. ISIS is like Hamas. They're branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of Isis. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people. Well, we face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor - their own people; and use their people as human shields.

Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They're the enemies of peace; they're the enemies of Israel; they're the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they're the enemies of the Palestinians. And I'm not the only one who believes it.
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Two Hamas commanders killed in air strike

Senior Hamas commanders Mohammed Abu Shamaleh and Raed Al-Attar were killed in an Israeli air strike near Rafah in the Gaza Strip early this morning.

Mohammed Abu Shamaleh was the senior Hamas commander in the southern Gaza Strip and oversaw and commanded the terror campaign in the southern Gaza Strip. Born in 1974, he joined Hamas in the early 1990's along with Muhammad Deif and Raed Al-Attar.

Most notably, Abu Shameleh and Al-Attar orchestrated the 2006 attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing in which two IDF soldiers were killed and IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was captured.

Abu Shameleh was most recently involved in the July 17 infiltration of 13 Hamas operatives through an offensive tunnel into southern Israel, near Sufa. He was also involved in killing an Israeli soldier in 1994 in Rafah and for several tunnel attacks in 2004 in which six soldiers were killed and ten wounded. In May 2008, he directed an attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing, using booby-trapped jeeps and wounding 13 soldiers.

Raed Al-Attar, the Hamas commander in Rafah, was one of the architects of the construction of cross-border assault tunnels into Israeli territory, both in the Rafah area and throughout the Gaza Strip. Attar was responsible for overseeing all terror activity in the Rafah region; orchestrating complex attacks, constructing offensive terror tunnels which infiltrated into Israeli territory and designing terror attacks via the Sinai Peninsula. His role in the Hamas terror apparatus was to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip and oversee the terrorist capabilities recruiting and arming in the Rafah region.

Attar was also responsible for the murder and abduction of Lt. Hadar Goldin during Operation Protective Edge, and the Rafah brigade under his command was involved in other incidents during the campaign in which IDF soldiers were wounded.

In 1994, Attar was involved in a shooting which killed an Israeli soldier on the Egyptian border. In 2002, he planned a deadly attack on an Israeli post near Kerem Shalom in which four IDF soldiers of the Bedouin desert patrol unit were killed.
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Hamas admits to kidnapping Israeli teenagers

WJC, A senior Hamas official has acknowledged that the organization’s military wing was behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

In a video posted by Israeli media, Hamas spokesman Salach Al-Aruri told a conference organized by the World Association of Muslim Scholars that the armed wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. According to the 'Jerusalem Post', Al-Aruri praised the “heroic action of the Qassam Brigades who kidnapped the three settlers in Hebron.”

Hamas’s leadership had formerly denied any involvement with the kidnappings. Previous reporting in American and Israeli media had suggested that Hamas was either not involved or that the kidnapping was carried out by a rogue group within Hamas.

However, Israeli officials have long insisted that the Hamas organization in Gaza had ordered and financed the attack. Al-Aruri’s statement appears to validate that claim.


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Ceasefire once again violated by rocket fire


Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, over 3,500 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. PM Netanyahu: "Israel will not negotiate under fire. We will achieve the goal of Operation Protective Edge either militarily or diplomatically, or by a combination of both.​​​​

August 19

At about 3:30 pm, three rockets fired from Gaza hit Beersheva and Netivot, violating the ceasefire.​
PM Spokesperson: This is a “grave and direct violation of the ceasefire to which Hamas committed itself.”
The IDF is targeting terror sites in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire.​


August 18

PM Netanyahu: "The Israeli team in Cairo has been instructed to insist on Israel's security needs and the IDF is prepared for very strong action if fire is resumed."
DM Yaalon: "Operation Protective Edge is not over. As we promised, we will not stop until we bring quiet and security. We are prepared for the results of the discussions in Cairo whether it brings quiet or if someone tries to challenge us with escalation."


August 17

PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting: "From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings... If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken."


August 14

Despite the firing of eight rockets towards the end of the 72-hour ceasefire at midnight on Wednesday, 13 August, the ceasefire has been extended for five days, until midnight on Monday, 18 August.


August 11

The Kerem Shalom Crossing, closed on Sunday due to rocket fire, was reopened.


August 10

Since the end of the ceasefire (8:01 on Friday, August 8), Hamas has fired over 130 rockets at Israel.

At 12:30pm a barrage of rockets struck inside the Kerem Shalom Crossing through which humanitarian supplies are transfered from Israel to Gaza, forcing its temporary closure until workers can safely operate in the area, and preventing 280 trucks of humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, from reaching the people of Gaza.

PM Netanyahu to Cabinet: "Operation Protective Edge is continuing. At no stage did we declare its conclusion. The operation will continue until its goal is met - the restoration of quiet for a long period... Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens..."

PM Netanyahu to Pres Rivlin: "We said at the start of the operation that Israel would not negotiate under fire and we have proven that we stand behind these words. Since Hamas violated the ceasefire on Friday, the IDF has struck it very hard. We are determined to achieve the goal of Operation Protective Edge - the restoration of quiet for the residents of Israel for a lengthy period while striking significantly at the terrorist organizations. I said at the beginning of the operation: We will achieve this either militarily or diplomatically, or by a combination of both."

An Egyptian-brokered 72-hour ceasefire came into effect at midnight on Sunday, after Israel said it would not negotiate in Cairo unless the rockets stopped. Minutes before the declared ceasefire, rockets were fired at Beersheba and Tel Aviv, following a day of rocket fire directed at Israel's south.


August 8

Israel agreed to Egypt's call to extend the 72-hour ceasefire. Shortly after 4 am, with the ceasefire still in effect, two rockets struck in open areas near the Eshkol Regional Council.
At 8:01, two rockets were fired towards Ashkelon, marking the renewal of rocket fire from Gaza, as Hamas refused to extend the 72-hour ceasefire.

By 10 am, over 18 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel: 2 were intercepted over Ashkelon, 14 hit open areas and 2 landed in Gaza.​ At 10:30 rockets were fired at Sderot.
After 2.5 hours of rocket fire from Gaza, PM Netanyahu and DM Yaalon ordered the IDF to respond with force.
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Israeli President Rivlin Greets Full Jumbo Flight of 338 New Olim from N. America

Among the Olim are 108 young men and women planning to serve in the IDF


Tel Aviv, Despite tensions surrounding the war in Gaza, 338 new Olim (immigrants) from the United States and Canada arrived in Israel this morning on an Aliyah charter flight to Israel. The special Nefesh B’Nefesh flight was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF - USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.

Included in the group of Olim were 108 inspiring young men and women who made Aliyah and will be serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

The large group of Olim included 37 families with 107 children. The passenger list was also comprised of 65 Olim moving to Israel’s periphery as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel Go North and Go South programs. Altogether, the Olim will be settling in every part of Israel, from Ma’alot in the North to Eilat in the South.

The Olim hail from 27 states and three Canadian provinces, from Arizona to Quebec, and range in age from a six-week-old baby to a 93-year-old great-grandparent in a family of four generations making Aliyah together.

As the new immigrants made their first steps on Israeli soil upon arrival, KKL-JNF presented each of them with a personalized certificate announcing that KKL-JNF will plant a “first tree in the homeland of Israel” in their honor, encouraging the development of the Southern communities (attached please find a sample of these certificates).

Said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler: “The fighting spirit which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years is not only found among IDF soldiers, but also among the immigrants who chose to come to Israel alone, without their families, at this particular period of time, and join the elite combatant units of the Israel Defense Forces.”

Stenzler added: “As a central partner in this important project, KKL-JNF is proud of the new immigrants and assures them with its support and promise to accompany them throughout their absorption in the Negev and Galilee, in favor of strengthening the Israeli society.”

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver said “it is heartwarming to see young men and women, who despite these challenging times, are leaving their comfortable lives in the Diaspora to make Aliyah and serve and defend the State of Israel." She added that “the Olim who are continuing to move to Israel are strengthening us all, especially these determined young people who will be joining the IDF in combative and significant roles. You are the symbol of Zionism and the future of the State of Israel.”

“I find it profoundly inspiring that we have a 747 jumbo jet filled to capacity with people from the North American Jewish community making Aliyah, especially at such a challenging time,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh Yehoshua Fass. “To see that Jews everywhere, young and old, religious and secular, are determined to fulfill the dream of helping to build the Jewish State is truly amazing.” he said.

Chair of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky said: “That so many Jews from the West are joining us of their own free will is the best answer to those who still try to destroy us. This flight is yet another step in the ingathering of the exiles, and we look forward to welcoming these new Israelis home.”

Among those present at the festive arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, were: President of Israel, Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin; Minister of Interior, Gideon Saar; Director-General of the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, Mr. Oded Feuer; Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky; Chairman of the Board of Directors of KKL-JNF, Effie Stenzler; CEO, Jewish National Fund, Russell Robinson; Chairman of the Israel Scouts Tzofim, Mr. Eli Ben-Yosef and Co-Founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass & Tony Gelbart.

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