More than 200 North Americans who immigrated to Israel on Tuesday were welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv by family, friends and prominent Israeli leaders.

“We are celebrating today the aliyah of hundreds of new olim who will begin their lives in the Jewish State, many of whom are modern-day pioneers moving to Israel’s North and South,” said Nefesh B’Nefesh Co-Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.

The new immigrants (olim) included families and young professionals from 17 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, as well as former servicemen from three U.S. army units. Nefesh B’Nefesh will help 2,000 olim become Israeli citizens this summer.

“The immigrants arriving from the United States and Canada are coming not out of distress but rather out of excitement to take part in the largest national project of the Jewish people,” said Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky. “We must ensure that the State of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home, a place that ignites Jews’ imagination and strengthens their identity and security,” he said.

Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption also welcomed the North American immigrants “as a wonderful asset to the country.”

“Our office provides a smooth absorption process and ensures that every new Oleh will receive the utmost personal attention in order to quickly integrate into Israeli society. Especially now, as global terrorism raises its head . . . as Jews, we know that we always have a home waiting for us – the State of Israel,” Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said.