450 new immigrants from France arrive in Israel on special flights
July 24, 2008. European Jewish PressThree special flights sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the "AMI" association arrived in Israel Wednesday with a record number of 450 new immigrants from France.
The welcoming ceremony took place at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, with the participation of the chairman of the Jewish Agency Zeev Bielski, Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Eli Aflalo and Pierre Besnainou, founder of the AMI association.
"The arrival of hundreds of new immigrants is a real celebration for the Jewish People and the State of Israel. The Jewish Agency will continue to develop new programs to promote aliyah from the West and assist in the absorption of these immigrants in Israel,” Bielski said.
Around 600,000 Jews live in France, the largest in western Europe and the second largest in the world.
According to the Jewish Agency, in recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of new immigrants moving to Israel from France, beginning in the year 2000 when close to 19,000 French Jews made aliyah, or immigration to Israel, half of them under the age of 35.
The Jewish Agency and the AMI association, in cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, have prepared themselves for this trend and organize aliyah fairs in which experts from Israel participate as well as develop special absorption tracks.
Ashdod, Jerusalem and Netanya are at the top of the list of cities which will absorb this week's recent arrivals from France.
Many of the new olim are young families; there is also a large group of young students who will be integrating within the institutes of higher education throughout Israel.
Pierre Besnainou, the former president of the European Jewish Congress, said that AMI will continue to assist Jews who decide to make aliyah and will help make their move and absorption easier.