200 French Jews will arrive in Israel this Monday (July 10) 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 and anywhere in Europe set to land in Israel this summer. 200 immigrants will be aboard the flight, including 74 children and teenagers under the age of 18. The youngest immigrant is two and a half months old, arriving with her parents and sibling, the oldest is a 92-year-old widower, who is making Aliyah with his daughter and her husband.
The newcomers will live in Netanya, Jerusalem, Ra’anana, Ashdod, Netivot, Tel Aviv, and Herzliya. Several young professionals on board will join The Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion absorption program in Jerusalem.
At Ben-Gurion Airport, the Olim will be greeted by Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar, and Chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg.
The French Jewish community is the largest in Europe and the second-largest in the world outside of Israel, numbering nearly half a million. 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% 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. More than 10% of the French Jewish community has 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 educate young French Jews on Jewish culture and history, 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 emissaries in France.