In the 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, the modern reality of the State of Israel has evolved far beyond what the original Zionist dreamers could ever have envisioned. Israels early pioneers arrived to an undeveloped land and built a country from nothing; they established the foundation of the thriving, flourishing, start-up nation that is Israel today.
In recent years, and in continuation of the Zionist dream, the Israeli government has put a significant emphasis on Israels northern and southern regions, moving beyond the center of the country by investing billions of shekels to improve the accessibility and lifestyle for the people who reside there.
Since its founding in 2002 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, Nefesh BNefesh has revolutionized Aliyah from North America and the UK. In the past 15 years, Nefesh BNefesh has brought over 50,000 Olim, with more than 8,000 of those individuals establishing their new homes in Israels North and South.
These modern-day pioneers who are moving to Israels North and South are not only fulfilling their personal dreams, but the dreams of the Jewish nation as a whole, said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh BNefesh. These Olim are infusing a vibrancy and energy into Israels periphery – socially, demographically and economically.
The Go Beyond initiative aims to support those Olim who are drawn to Israels peripheral communities by providing employment mentoring and placement, social programming, community advisement, educational resources and close contact with regional staff. These services are designed to ease the transition of new Olim to their new communities by creating the conditions for seamless professional and social integration.
Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund has the privilege of being a leading partner with Nefesh BNefesh in the vision of Aliyah and the settlement of the land, said World Chairman of KKL-JNF, Daniel Atar. These Olim are settling the Negev, Galilee and Golan Heights, while at the same time strengthening the social fabric of Israels frontier.
Nefesh BNefeshs unprecedented Go North and Go South programs aim to infuse Israels northern and southern frontiers with skilled, idealistic and talented Olim, as well as encourage continued growth and innovation.
Northern Israel offers beautiful and affordable opportunities for singles, families and retirees. Olim can choose from a wide range of vibrant communities, from large cities to small towns, from secular to religious and everything in-between.
The North also offers employment opportunities in a vast array of fields including medicine, bio-tech, high-tech and manufacturing. The North is ripe for entrepreneurship and offers many unique opportunities for innovative and creative Olim.
Since its founding in 2008, the Nefesh BNefesh Go North program in conjunction with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, Israels Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and the Negev and Galilee Development Authority, has helped over 6,000 new Olim settle into their new homes in Israels northern frontier. The community atmosphere in the North has proven to be a major draw for families and retirees looking to build their new lives in Israel.
Living in the North gives Olim the opportunity to be a part of authentic Israel and together with the support of Go North and the already established Oleh communities, there is endless potential available for new Olim, said Tzippy Oppenheimer, Director of Go North.
Nefesh BNefesh recently opened a Go North office in Karmiel, a city that is easily accessible from many locations. The office serves as a social center for new Olim who enjoy employment and small business seminars, workshops, and various social activities. Go North advisors guide Olim through the absorption process, and offer employment and networking opportunities, social and educational programs and long-term Aliyah support.
In addition to support from the Nefesh BNefesh Go North team, Olim receive a variety of benefits from the Israeli government allotted to those who have chosen the North as their home. These include a tax reduction for those who have lived in the North for more than one year. Additionally, Israels Ministry of Aliyah & Integration offers financial support to new Oleh families as well as grants for those looking to start a new business in the North.
Since the days of David Ben Gurion, the Negev has captured the imagination of passionate Zionists. Covering 66 percent of Israels land mass, but holding only 8 percent of its population, the Negev represents a major opportunity for Olim. Israels South presents a wealth of opportunities which make it an ideal option for English-speaking Olim, including expanding communities, burgeoning industries and cutting-edge education.
In 2013, together with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, Israels Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and the Negev and Galilee Development Authority, Nefesh BNefesh launched the Go South initiative to help Olim who are drawn to the South and want to help make the desert bloom.
There is exponential growth of industries, new communities, and so much room to innovate and initiate in the South, said Donna Horwitz, Director of Go South. Beer Sheva, for instance, has been called the cyber capital of Israel. The South is encompassed by the beauty of nature, the lifestyle there is more affordable and the possibilities are endless, said Horowitz.
From the Nefesh BNefesh Go South offices in Beer Sheva, staff work closely with their Olim providing employment counseling, pilot trip guidance, social activities, community guidance and long-term support after Aliyah to ensure the successful integration of Israels newest citizens.
Since its launch, Go South has helped over 2,000 immigrants settle in southern communities and hopes to see that number rise significantly over the next few years. Go South also runs a relocation program for those who have already made Aliyah and now wish to make the South their home. The program provides support and guidance for relocators as well as grants to help ease the transition.
With the continued growth in the North and South, and the Israeli governments continued support and dedication in making Israels frontier more accessible, the possibilities and potential for Olim acting as modern-day pioneers are seemingly endless.
Go Beyond, a joint Nefesh BNefesh-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael initiative offers enhanced benefits for Olim choosing to make Israels frontier their home. These include:
- Pilot trip grants: hotel stay, rental car, and subsidized flight
- Regional Aliyah guidance: community research, employment opportunities and educational options
- Special 2017 pilot trip planning Incentives: personalized meetings with municipal contacts, community volunteers, realtors, etc.
- Assistance with Aliyah documentation expenses
- Online Ulpan vouchers
- Assistance with college loans
For additional information, please visit: www.nbn.org.il/go-beyond