Yitzchak Ickovich (right) before boarding the plane at JFK Airport in New York Aug. 22. (photo by Shahar Azran)
Recent University of Victoria graduate Yitzchak Ickovich, 23, was one of 215 olim (immigrants) from the United States and Canada who moved to Israel and made aliyah last week on Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 64th specially chartered El Al flight. The flight was facilitated with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL) and Jewish National Fund-USA.
After becoming a citizen, Ickovich will draft into the Israel Defence Forces as a lone soldier. He will join the 3,500 men and women from around the world who are currently serving as part of the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program.
Most of the future lone soldiers on the Aug. 22 flight are part of Tzofim-Garin Tzabar, a Friends of Israel Scouts program, who before and throughout their military service are adopted by Israeli communities that serve as their home away from home. Their absorption period includes ulpan Hebrew studies, educational tours in Israel, introduction to the military structure and the different positions.
The charter flight comprised 22 families, with 75 children among them, 15 single men and women, and 17 retirees. The youngest oleh on the flight was four months old, and the oldest oleh was 77 years old. Also onboard were seven doctors and 15 health professionals who will be integrating into the Israeli medical system. Twenty-seven of the olim are part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh-KKL Go Beyond initiative, which is aimed at developing Israel’s peripheral regions and Jerusalem.
Last summer, a pilot initiative to further streamline the aliyah processing was offered to a handful of olim – representatives of Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and the Population and Immigration Authority handed out teudot oleh (immigration certificates) onboard. For the first time, this opportunity was extended to all the passengers on this year’s charter. While still on the flight, olim filled out the relevant forms and were handed their teudot, finalizing their aliyah processing.
– Courtesy J Cubed Communications