Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) = No Benifit Nucence - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Simmy Allen
    • 22.10.12 | 21:59 (IST)

    Hi, I am a recent immigrant to Israel. We arrived on the NBN charter flight in July. I read your article and found it very interesting because as opposed to the countless people who seem to be enamored with NBN and its wonderful work in bringing Americans on Aliyah I feel quite the opposite. As americans we were forced to apply and process our Aliyah application with NBN, a combersome and redundent process. Despite the constant assurances from NBN staff, and there are many, we were given very little assistance. Everytime we had a technical question about benefits or logistics about coming to Israel we were referred to their website to read an article which more often than not was written over 5 years ago and outdated. In addition to this, all the whole application process, including documentation needed was completely redundent as every new oleh has to meet with a Jewish Agency Shaliach before being approved for an Aliyah visa. This not only raises the question of what is the benefit of NBN if their information is often hard to find and outdated but also why the extra step. In addition, the large number of staff in their beautiful Jerusalem office often is redundent in its daily work. I can't tell you how many people called me during our pre-aliyah days checking and looking for the same information. This is curious because all paperwork needed to be updated through their application portal supposedly in order to organize a maintain one file with all the information. During pre-aliyah meetings with their staff despite the full disclosure of our personal circumstances we were not given the full picture until the very end. As I myself am an Oleh, having made Aliyah back in 2002, my wife is a new immigrant completely. From the very beginning we were open with this situation. Never were we told of possible roadblocks to our application or the fulliest extent of what would happen when we finally chose to come on Aliyah. We were constantly assured that we were considered a Mishpachat Olim and were afforded all the rights and benefits persuint to new Olim. Never was it mentioned for instance that I might be excluded from the NBN charter flight. Never was it mentioned that my information wasn't needed in the application process. Only at the very end when were booking our travel date did it become apparent that there was a big problem. Even to this extent, the response from various NBN advisors and staff was 'well my wife and kids were welcome on the flight). Now what kind of answer is that. My wife was certainly not going to fly alone to Israel with our two children ages 3.5 and 2.5. Regardless of all that I must also discuss the issue of financial assistance. Aside from the Sal Klita from the government, NBN gives grants to new olim. A process that is not combersome but requires discloser of assets and a full financial picture. We were recipients of such a grant. In the contract the terms of the grant were very specific, the money is ment to be used towards the costs of making aliyah, which can be very expensive. As I said we made Aliyah in July. Only as of October 20, 2012 did we receive our grant money. How is that supposed to assist in the cost of making Aliyah? To summarize, anyone who dedicates themselves to bringing Jews to Israel to live their lives here and contribute to Israeli society should be commended but those people who sacrifice a lot to make Aliyah shouldn't be exploited as a just another PR stunt or way to pad their own pockets. If you should like more information of our personal story please feel free to contact me at

    from the article: Nefesh B'Nefesh an ineffective monopoly with overpaid executives, say critics
    First published 21:16 20.10.12 | Last updated 21:16 20.10.12
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