French Aliyah Nearly Doubles in 2013
Last Thursday saw the second annual fair in Netanya designed to encourage Jews from France to immigrate to Israel. The event was coordinated by Yaakov Chagoel, head of the Israeli Desk and Department for Combatting Anti-Semitism at the World Zionist Organization, in collaboration with the city of Netanya.
The purpose of the fair was to increase the number of Jews making Aliyah from France. Potential applicants for Aliyah attended the fair in order to receive updated information about new absorption programs and tips on how to adjust to any difficulties involved with moving to Israel.
During the event, there was a meeting between the Director of the Ministry of Absorption, Oded Furer, and Mayor of Netanya, Miriam Feirberg Ikar, with the leaders of the World Zionist Organization and several senior leaders of French Jewry.
As part of the fair, dozens of public and commercial agencies set up information booths and provided information for visitors of the fair. Various banks, institutions for higher education, real-estate consultants, the student authority, and representatives from the Netanya Municipality were among some of the booths.
There were entertainment booths, as well as a main performance by singers Omar Adam and Libby Ren.
Since 2013, there has been a 10 percent increase of Jewish population in France moving to Israel. It is estimated that there will be 2,500 new immigrants from France by the end of this year, almost doubling the amount of immigrants from previous years.
France has the third-largest Jewish community in the world, after Israel and the United States. However, anti-Semitism is rampant in many parts of the country, particularly in areas with high concentrations of Arab and Muslim immigrants.
In 2012, an Algerian-Muslim fanatic, Mohammed Mera, murdered three Jewish schoolchildren and a trainee rabbi - as well as three French soldiers - in attacks in and around the French city of Toulouse.
In 2006, Ilan Halimi - a 17 year-old French Jew - was kidnapped and tortured to death by a Muslim gang.
Those two incidents were simply the deadliest in a string of violent attacks against French Jews, which is believed to be responsible to some degree for the community's rapidly increasing rates of aliyah (immigration to Israel).