By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
It comes as no surprise that French Jews are moving to Israel in unprecedented waves as security in France deteriorates and anti-Semitism there is on the rise again.
More than 200 French Jews arrived in Israel on Wednesday aboard a special Aliyah (immigration) flight.
They were greeted upon their arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport by Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver and Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri.
This is the largest Aliyah flight from France this summer. Half of the new immigrants are teenagers, children and toddlers who will join the Israeli education system at the end of the summer vacation.
The immigrants also included several families in which three generations – grandparents, parents, and children – made Aliyah together. The majority of the immigrants have chosen to make their homes in Netanya, Raanana, Jerusalem, and Ashdod.
“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,” Sharansky stated. “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.”
The Mass Exodus from France to Israel
The French Jewish community is the largest in Europe and the second-largest in the world outside of Israel, numbering just under half a million Jews.
French Jewish immigration to Israel has surged since the year 2012, breaking records for Aliyah from France and from Western countries more generally. 2014 marked the first time in Israel’s history that over 1% 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 has immigrated to Israel since the year 2000, half in the past five years alone, boosted by a surge in anti-Semitism and the advent of Islamic terror on the Continent.
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 provide French Jews with comprehensive Aliyah information and counseling, remove barriers to employment, and increase the number of Jewish Agency Shlichim (representatives) in France.
The Jewish Agency reports that some 60,000 French Jews have expressed interest in immigrating to Israel in the coming years.