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150 New Immigrants Arrive Straight from Sao Paulo


Hana Levi Julian, Israel National News, July 15, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) For the first time, a special direct El Al flight from São Paulo, Brazil brought 150 new immigrants to the Jewish State on Wednesday.

The flight was made possible as a result of the opening of direct El Al flights from Brazil to Israel last month. Most other airlines fly the route with a stopover on the way, for a trip that can last up to 15 hours or more.

Bringing the new "Latin American-Israelis" home was Javier Ruben, who himself had served as a Jewish Agency emissary to Latin America from 1999 to 2002. Little did Ruben realize, as he encouraged Jews on the South American continent to make Aliyah, that in less than a decade he would personally be flying them home.

The number of Latin American immigrants to Israel is growing, according to the Jewish Agency, which said in a statement that it expects the numbers to rise by some 15 percent -- compared to the 2008 statistics -- by summer's end.

The group includes a particularly distinguished personality: among the new immigrants is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay, Rabbi Moti Ma'aravi.

Also on the flight were dozens of young people headed for Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, a special program for college graduates, and a group of young immigrants planning to attend the Jewish Agency's kibbutz ulpan program at Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael. Others will be absorbed in various locations around the country.

The flight, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, arrived just three days before the anniversary of the July 18,1994 terrorist attack on the Jewish community headquarters in Argentina.

All of the new immigrants will be welcomed by the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, at a special ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
(Tags: Jews, Israel, Brazil)