The story you are about to read is all true - although parts of it may be hard to believe.
On Tuesday night (November 3rd), WIZO Nachlat Yehuda Youth Village Director Galia Meron and members of her staff drove to Ben-Gurion airport to meet and welcome seven teenagers who were arriving from the Ukraine (via Kiev) to begin the Naale program for international Jewish youth at WIZO Nachlat Yehuda.
As per Israel's Coronavirus health regulations, no one is allowed to enter the airport to greet arrivals, so Galia and her staff waited outside - on what was a very cold and rainy night- anxiously awaiting the arriving students.
As they waited, Galia noticed Yishayahu Yichieli, the National Director of the Naale program standing with a woman and a photographer. He then introduced the woman he was with, which was none other than MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh (of the Blue & White Party). The MK was there because she wanted to see and meet the arriving youth and to learn more about the process of bringing international Jewish students to Israel via Naale.
The Taxi Driver
Then the really ubelievable part of the story occured. As they were all standing outside and chatting, a taxi driver (from among the long lines of taxis waiting outside the airport to pick up passengers), walked up to the group because he overheard they were waiting for a the arrival of some Naaleh youth.
He said he was overjoyed when he heard the word “Naale”, and added, “Naale saved my life!”.
He went on to explain that he too arrived in Israel as a teenager and took part in the Naale program from 1995-1998.
His life continued after graduation. He got married, raised a family and attested that he is "living a good and productive life, thanks to Naale."
When Mr. Yishayahu asked the cab driver which youth village he attended, he proudly answered, "WIZO Nachlat Yehuda!"
Everyone was speechless for a few seconds, after which Yishayahu turned to the cab driver and said, “I’d like to introduce you to Galia Meron, the director of WIZO Nachlat Yehuda.”
The taxi driver was amazed and overwhelmed at this unbelievable coincidence, and began to share with Galia and the group his happy memories about WIZO Nachlat Yehuda, especially working in the chicken coop.
He even mentioned working in the cow shed and was excited to learn from Galia how the youth village was thriving today. although he was a bit disappointed to learn that the cows were no longer there.
Soon after, the group of seven Naale youths, which includes a set of twins -a boy and a girl- finally arrived, exhausted but very happy.
Once they got to Nachlat Yehuda, they were settled into the Dekel Dorm and will now spend the next 2 weeks in isolation as per Israel's national health regulations. When those two weeks end, the other three Naaleh youth who arrived previously and have aleady completed their isolation and are temporarily living temporarily in the Rimon Dorm will join them and move into the Dekel Dorm as well. The total number of new Naale students who have arrived at Nachlat Yehuda to date is 13, with another four set to arrive soon.
Galia Merom summed up the experience as follows: "What happened last night was so amzing and rewarding," she said, "better than any story that a Hollywood screenwriter could have come up with."