Undeterred by the security situation in Israel, hundreds of French Jews are coming home: Some 400 new immigrants from France will arrive in Israel on Wednesday, 18 Tammuz 574 aboard two special flights organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption. Most of the new arrivals are families, including 195 minors and 18 babies. The families will be joining communities across Israel. More than 100 immigrants will be moving to Tel Aviv and the center of the country, while approximately 60 will be moving to the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. 130 new French immigrants will move to the coastal city of Netanya, and approximately 50 to Jerusalem.
The new immigrants—most of whom are from Paris and its suburbs—will be welcomed by Minister of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, and Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Harel Locker.
On Thursday, the new immigrants will participate in an expo organized for them in Jerusalem. At 14:30, they will be presented with their teudot zehut (Israeli ID cards) and will officially become citizens of Israel in a festive ceremony to be attended by Minister of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, and Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita.
2014 has seen a dramatic increase in aliyah from France and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency expect more than 5,000 French Jews to immigrate to Israel by the end of the year. 3,289 French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2013, compared to 1,917 in 2012 – a 60% increase.
That trend is continuing in 2014, with approximately 2,600 French Jews arriving in Israel during the first six months of the year, compared to 812 during the equivalent period in 2013. This dramatic increase is due, in part, to a special plan developed by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency to encourage Aliyah from France and ease French Jews’ integration into Israeli society. The plan includes efforts to strengthen Jewish identity amongst French Jewish youth, expand Israel experience programs, remove bureaucratic barriers to employment in Israel, and boost the number of Jewish Agency shluchim in France.
Minister of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said: “Two weeks ago, when we met in Paris at the moving ceremony during which you parted with the country of your birth, I met entire families whose veins flow with Zionism, who are willing to leave their entire lives behind in order to realize their dream of immigrating to Israel. Every immigrant who arrives in Israel strengthens us as a people, and this is all the more so when it comes to the growing Aliyah from France. I congratulate you on taking this meaningful step and promise that we will be at your side throughout your journey. Welcome home.”
Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky added “Despite the rocket onslaught against the people of Israel, not one immigrant from France has canceled his or her arrival. More and more people are asking whether Jews have a future in France, but no one doubts that French Jews have a future in Israel. Israel has become a preferred destination for young French Jews and this is due, in part, to The Jewish Agency to strengthen young French Jews’ connections to their Jewish identities and to Israel. By the end of 2014, more than 5,000 Jews are expected to make Aliyah from France. Within a single year, and for the first time in history, a Jewish community in the West is sending a full percent of its Jews to build their lives in the State of Israel. We await you in Israel with open arms.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)