Amidst War, 650 French Jews Move to Israel in One Day

Despite the Re-Engagement War, 650 French Jews arrived on Aliyah (immigrating to Israel) Tuesday - the largest number to arrive in a single day since 1971.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 14:05

The new immigrants arrived on two chartered Israir flights, one with 500 passengers from Paris and the other with 150 Jews from Marseille. They arrive in Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday afternoon and were greeted by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The immigrants have received logistical assistance from AMI - the French Aliyah organization similar to its North American (and British) counterpart Nefesh b'Nefesh. The Jewish Agency has partnered with both of the organizations in an effort to encourage and embrace Western Aliyah.

Similar to the lavish ceremonies organized by Nefesh b'Nefesh, the French arrivals were greeted with refreshments and a large stage set up at the airport, with hundreds of friends, relatives and Aliyah enthusiasts on hand to greet them.

AMI reports that many of the new immigrants will be moving to northern Israel, and like the planeload of North Americans that arrived last week, refused to postpone their plans due to the two-front war that has two million Israelis living in bomb shelters and temporary quarters.

Recent polls have shown that more half of young French Jews do not see themselves staying in France in the future.