Before he was born, his parents had intended to name him after his two grandfathers, but then decided it was more important to commemorate the birth of Israel through their son.
He grew up in a Zionist household in New York and attended Hebrew-speaking summer camps. On his first date with his wife 45 years ago, they talked about how they would like to one day live in Israel.
That day has coincided with Yisrael and Israel’s shared 70th birthday.
On Tuesday, Helprin and his wife, Bella, arrived in Israel on aliyah. The couple are moving from Monsey, New York, to Ramat Beit Shemesh, where their daughter and her family live. Four other children and their families remain in the United States.
“The State of Israel and I have had a strong connection since the day I was born, and every year since we have celebrated our birthdays together,” Helprin said in a statement to Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that arranges for immigration to Israel. “But this year will be the culmination of a lifetime journey, becoming an Israeli citizen at the same time the State of Israel and I celebrate our birthdays. I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present.”