A group of 160 French Olim (new immigrants) to Israel arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday aboard a special Aliyah (immigration to Israel) flight from Paris organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.
The Olim were accompanied on the flight by Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata, who was returning from a tour of the Jewish community in France in light of growing interest in Aliyah in that country.
According to the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency, Israel has seen a 137% jump in the number of new immigrants from France so far during 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Immigration to Israel did not halt during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic despite ongoing challenges such as restrictions on incoming international flights to Israel.
The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency estimate that thousands of new Olim are expected to immigrate to Israel during the summer months from around the world, with the goal of building their home and future in the Jewish state.
Among the 160 immigrants who arrived from France were doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and marketing and media professionals, as well as 46 young people under the age of 18 who will enter the Israeli education system.
“Aliyah to Israel is the bedrock of Zionism. Ever since the days of Abraham and our forefathers, we’ve contended with disasters, wars, challenges and, most recently, a global pandemic. Yet, the Jewish people have continued to arrive in Israel and be greeted with open arms. This is our true home,” said Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and the Acting Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel. “160 Olim arrived today to strengthen us as a people and, by doing so, they are fulfilling the dreams of being connected to the land of Israel. Welcome home.”
With approximately half a million people, the Jewish community in France is the largest in the world outside of Israel and the US. About 1,370 French immigrants made Aliyah during the first half of 2021, compared to 578 during the corresponding period last year, according to the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency.
The pandemic year of 2020 saw a dramatic increase in the opening of new Aliyah files from France — 6,053 compared to 2,475 in 2019.
The Jewish Agency’s Aliyah Global Call Center received more than 14,000 calls in 2020 from people interested in immigrating to Israel from France.
Data from the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency shows that in the last decade, a record number of 39,592 people made Aliyah from France out of a total of 125,000 French immigrants to Israel since the establishment of the country in 1948.