Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Increased Aliya (immigration) from France to Israel

The relatively small French Jewish community has contributed over 4,000 new immigrants to Israel in the past eighteen months. Six hundred of these French Jews are arriving in Israel today. Another 3,000 are expected to come by the end of the year. This is a far higher proportion than the 3,200  immigrants expected to arrive from the United States in 2007, as there are, on paper, over five million Jews in the United States, and only about half a million Jews in France. Like the American Jewish population, the population of French Jews has remained relatively constant, due to low birth rates and assimilation through intermarriage.
The Aliya flights were organized by the francophone aliya organization, Ami, along with the Jewish Agency. It seems that in each area, the Jewish Agency alone cannot do the job of recruiting aliya, and must have "helper" organizations such as Ami, Nativ and Nefesh beNefesh.
The French aliya is urban. The largest number of French olim, nearly 7,500 since 1989, live in Jerusalem, followed by Netanya with 4,900, Ashdod with 4,200 and Tel Aviv with 2,000.
As might be expected, the arrival of the immigrants was put in doubt by a general strike threat, but the immigrants arrived on schedule after the strike was postponed for 24 hours.
Ami Isseroff

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