Hundreds Fly El Al to Immigrate from U.S. to Israel During Gaza Crisis

PHOTO: In the last two months, EL AL Israel Airlines has flown over 600 immigrants from USA and Canada to Israel.
Shahar Azran/EL AL Israel Airlines
In the last two months, EL AL Israel Airlines has flown over 600 immigrants from USA and Canada to Israel.

In the wake of the fighting in Gaza, U.S. airlines temporarily grounded flights to Israel last month, but that hasn't stopped supporters in the West from traveling to and relocating there this summer.

More than 600 immigrants from the U.S. and Canada have flown on El Al Airlines, Israel's national carrier, in the last two months to relocate their families, serve in the military and show solidarity with the Israeli citizens, according to the airline.

"Of those, over 100 young men and women will serve in the Israel Defense Forces and a total of 37 families with 107 children from 27 states and three Canadian provinces were on board the latest flight that recently landed," a spokeswoman for El Al Airlines told ABC News.

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Organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA, charter flights that departed from JFK Airport in New York on July 21 and Aug. 11 were free to passengers moving to Israel. Future aliyah group flights via El Al will continue to depart on a monthly basis out of Newark Airport in New Jersey.

Others who fly on alternate carriers to immigrate are given a flight credit from Nefesh B’Nefesh between $700 and $900 toward baggage and ticket fees.

The age of recent immigrants has ranged "from a 6-week-old baby to 93-year-old great-grandparent," the El Al spokeswoman said.

And more are on the way.

"We are planning to bring over 4,000 North Americans to Israel this year," said Yael Katsman, director of marketing and communications for Nefesh B'Nefesh. "The summer is our busiest time as it's a natural point in the year when school-children transition" adding "we're working to bridge the American and Israeli worlds and build better ties and relations between both communities."