It was part of a record-breaking aliyah, or immigration to Israel.
It had never been done before: three planeloads, full of Jewish immigrants; one from the U.S., one from Canada and one from Great Britain -- landing almost simultaneously at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
Altogether, more than 500 new immigrants set their feet on Israeli soil, as hundreds of well- wishers came out to celebrate their arrival.
"Whenever we come here, our heart always feels like it's the place we want to be. We feel for our children, this is the place we want to bring them up - this is home for us," said David Nussbaum, an immigrant from Great Britain.
Unlike Jews in other parts of the world, most of these new immigrants are leaving behind comfortable lives, homes and jobs, to come and live in a tumultuous land surrounded by enemies.
Josh Saltzman from the U.S. said, "I think, as Jews, we're ultimately safer in Israel, so war or no war, this is where we belong."
"This is our answer, not just to them (terrorists), but this is our answer to Hitler, and the Nazis that killed us,” said U.S. immigrant Rabbi Aaron Simkin. “This is our answer to Spain when they kicked us out, this is our answer to everyone: we are still Israel, we are still the Jewish people. The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians who enslaved us, they're gone - we're still here and we're coming home today."
New U.S immigrant Lori Esses was asked whether she was concerned about bringing her children to a war-ravaged land.
"No, not at all…,” she said. “I really believe that God protects Jews wherever they are."
The Jewish Agency, in conjunction with Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization dedicated to the revitalization of aliyah helped organize the event.
“The North Americans, the English people, represent the best Aliyah that we've ever seen, in terms of education, professional experience, educational degrees, you name it,” said Charley Levine of Nefesh B' Nefesh. “They're ready to fit into society, into the economy and start contributing."
When one couple was asked whether they had jobs lined up, Nussbaum quipped, “Yeah, my wife will be shopping full time, and I'll be working to support her."
For many, there is no more convincing evidence of the fulfillment of God's prophetic word than the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.
Zeev Bielski of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said, "And for us, this country is not just a geographic place, it was promised to us thousands of years ago -- and these people are coming home, so it's a big excitement for the people of Israel."
“We did our best today. We only had three planes, we were trying to come from the four corners of the Earth. Today we're coming from three corners, but give us a while to work on it and we'll get the fourth corner too," promised Levine.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israel's newest citizens that although they enjoyed international support during the war, there is no support like the Jewish people.
Olmert said, "If there is one thing that can make a difference in the future of the state of Israel, one thing that really strengthens this country, it is Aliyah to Israel. We are not an easy country to live in -- if you don't know it yet, you will find out soon."
One man who immigrated from the u.s. 24 years ago became overwhelmed at the realization that he's living the dream that his ancestors predicted would one day come.
"Generation after generation, father's would tell their sons, one day we will come home to the land of Israel, one day we'll return to Jerusalem, one day, one day….and today, our generation has the merit of seeing that happen right before our eyes," said Arraham Sheina.
The Jewish Agency predicts about 25,000 new immigrants will come from all over the world this year to settle in Israel.
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