In Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL, more commonly known in the U.S. as the Jewish National Fund or JNF) have been working together since 2012 to develop the country’s periphery. This month, the organizations launched a joint initiative called “Go Beyond,” offering expanded aliyah services and perks to new immigrants to Israel (olim) who choose to move to Israel’s North, South, or Jerusalem.
Since the organization’s establishment in 2002, over 15 percent of Nefesh B’Nefesh olim have chosen to establish their homes in Israel’s North and South. The noticeable growth in the number of olim moving to the periphery is partially due to the success of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s “Go North” and “Go South” programs, which aim to energize these communities with infusions of talented and innovative immigrants.
“Throughout the years, the Zionist movement has encouraged and supported making aliyah to Israel, settlement in Israel, agriculture, and development of the land,” said KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar. “Even in the year 2017, 70 years after the state of Israel was established, each new oleh helps in the development and advancement of the state of Israel.”
“Go Beyond” aims to assist olim in maximizing the opportunities offered in the country’s northern and southern frontiers, as well as in Jerusalem, by investing in its infrastructure and people.
With “Go North” and “Go South,” olim have enjoyed employment mentoring and placement, social programming, community advisement, educational resources, and close contact with regional staff. Individuals who make aliyah through “Go Beyond” will be offered enhanced benefits beyond those generally offered to new immigrants. These include grants up to $20,000, online ulpan vouchers for Hebrew lessons, assistance with college loans, documentation expenses, pilot trip planning, and more.
“Our shared goal is to bring 500,000 new residents to the Galilee and one million new residents to the Negev,” where KKL-JNF’s main efforts are focused, said Attar.
“It is an incredible privilege to be part of the ongoing development of Israel’s Northern and Southern regions as well as Jerusalem,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Today’s olim are infusing a vibrancy and energy into these areas of the country – socially, demographically and economically. These modern-day pioneers are not only fulfilling their personal dreams, but the dreams of the Jewish nation.”