More than 200 French Jews will arrive in Israel this Wednesday, July 20, aboard a special Aliyah flight organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Hayesod-UIA.
This is the largest Aliyah flight from France set to land in Israel this summer. Half the new olim are teenagers, children, and toddlers who will enter the Israeli education system at the end of the summer vacation. The newcomers also include several families where three generations—grandparents, parents, and children—will be making Aliyah together. The olim will settle in Netanya, Raanana, Jerusalem, and Ashdod.
The flight was planned months ago, without any connection to recent events in France.
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said in a statement that “French Jews who immigrate to Israel are coming out of choice: they have a whole world of opportunities before them, and they are choosing to come to Israel. Their choice is demonstrates that Israel affords a sense of Jewish identity and attachment to those Jews who wish to take an active part in the Jewish story. We must do everything we can to ease their professional, educational, and personal integration into Israeli society and ensure that they feel at home from the moment they first set foot on our homeland’s soil.”
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said: “In light of the difficult weekend in Nice, I wish to welcome the immigrants from France who chose to immigrate to Israel now. French Aliyah strengthens Israel, and the Government of Israel works tirelessly to ease their absorption – the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption will continue to work to remove obstacles to employment and create new opportunities for young immigrants from France, to illustrate to them that Israel is their home.”
Numbering just under half a million, the French Jewish community is the largest in Europe and the second-largest in the world outside of Israel. French Jewish immigration to Israel has surged since the year 2012, breaking records for Aliyah from France and from Western countries. 2014 marked the first time in Israel’s history that more than 1 percent of a Western Jewish community made Aliyah in a single year, an achievement repeated in 2015, with the arrival of some 7,800 immigrants from France – the most ever. In total, nearly 10% of the French Jewish community have immigrated to Israel since the year 2000, half in the past five years alone.
In response to this unprecedented demand from French Jews, The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have developed a special plan to facilitate Aliyah from France and ease French Jewish immigrants’ integration into Israeli society. The plan includes efforts to deepen young French Jews’ Jewish identity, bring them to experience Israel on a variety of programs, provide French Jews with comprehensive Aliyah information and counseling, remove barriers to employment, and increase the number of Jewish Agency shlichim (representatives) in France.David Israel