'Immigration from France - a historic missed opportunity'

PM instructs Diapora Affairs Minister Bennett to formulate plan to increase immigration among Jews from France.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

French immigrants
French immigrants
Yoni Kempinski

Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs, presented activities of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and challenges in the connection with world Jewry at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Minister Bennett told the ministers, "There is a historic missed opportunity on the part of the Israeli governments over the past few years in the issue of immigration from France. There are 200,000 Jews in France who want to immigrate here, and all the state systems are simply unprepared for this. These are Zionist, ethical people, lovers of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel - and it is our moral duty to throw down the gauntlet and help them. Two weeks ago, I launched a program for informal education among immigrants from France, but it is not enough and a comprehensive process is needed, led by the government."

Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed Minister Bennett to formulate, in cooperation with the National Economic Council, a master plan to increase the immigration of French Jews and bring it to the Ministerial Committee for Absorption and Immigration headed by the Prime Minister. The committee will see the participation of Ministers Yariv Levin, Zeev Elkin, Moshe Kahlon, Chairman of the National Economic Council Avi Simhon and Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, Yoav Horowitz.

Minister Bennett also presented an up-to-date picture of Diaspora Jewry: For the first time, Israel has the largest concentration of Jews in the world - over 6 million, while there are 5.7 million Jews in the United States. "Relations between Israel and the Diaspora are in an unprecedented crisis," Bennett said. "They tell us that it's because of the Western Wall, because of the Palestinian issue and because of other ideological disagreements - that's not true. There is a problem of serious assimilation, and a growing lack of concern among Jews in the Diaspora, both for their Jewishness and for Israel. That's the whole story, and it's a national challenge."

Accordingly, the Minister presented a series of activities and projects promoted by the Diaspora Ministry to strengthen ties with Jewish communities around the world, including the expansion of Taglit-Birthright Israel (about 50,000 young people participated in Taglit-Birthright Israel missions in 2018), the Mosaic United project to strengthen Jewish identity and connection to Israel on college campuses, the deepening of learning about Diaspora Jewry in schools in Israel, the MOMentum trip to Israel for Jewish mothers, the activation of a network of activity against anti-Semitism (monitoring, community assistance, etc.) and raising awareness about Diaspora Jewry among the Israeli public.