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160 French Olim arrive in Israel on special flight

160 French Olim arrive in Israel on special flight

Aliyah from France is up 137% in 2021 after the pandemic drastically reduced the number of new immigrants to Israel last year.

A group of 160 French Jews making aliyah arrived in Israel Wednesday, on a special flight from Paris organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.

The new immigrants were accompanied by Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata, who was returning from a tour of the Jewish community in France due to 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.

Some 1,370 French immigrants made Aliyah during the first half of this year, compared to 578 during the corresponding period last year, according to the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency.

Although Aliyah during 2020 declined by almost 40% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a dramatic increase in opening of new Aliyah files, including from France – where 6,053 files were opened compared to 2,475 in 2019.

Among the 160 immigrants who landed on Wednesday night 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.

After landing at Ben-Gurion Airport, the newcomers began to observe mandatory home isolation in accordance with coronavirus safety guidelines.

The new Olim were greeted by World Zionist Organization chair and acting Jewish Agency chair Yaakov Hagoel and World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg, among others.

“When this flight landed, it was the completion of my first official visit to France and meeting the French Jewish community. However, the initiative to bring olim from France to Israel is not yet complete,” said MK Tamano-Shata.

“Over the last four days, we had in-depth meetings with leaders of the French Jewish community, government agencies and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In France, I witnessed the deep connection and love that this special community has for Israel. I learned about the challenges they currently face, and I will ensure that my office sees that they have a smooth transition to their new life in Israel.”

The special flight was organized with support from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod, Christians for Israel of the Netherlands and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

“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 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.”

Jeremy Sharon July 22, 2021

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