Four hundred French immigrants to arrive in Israel

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 400 new immigrants from France are scheduled to arrive in Israel.

The two chartered flights organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption are set to arrive Wednesday evening, where the new olim, mostly from Paris and its suburbs, will be welcomed with a special ceremony.

The new immigrants include 18 babies and 195 children and teens.

Some 60 of the new immigrants will move to the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, which have been under regular bombardment by rockets fired from Gaza. More than 100 of the French immigrants will move to Tel Aviv and the center of the country, 130 Netanya, and about 50 to Jerusalem.

None of the immigrants scheduled to arrive have cancelled due to the current rocket fire on the country, according to the Jewish Agency.

The new immigrants will be greeted at Ben Gurion Airport, which also has been the unsuccessful target of Hamas rockets, by  Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver; Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky; and Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Harel Locker.

“Every immigrant who arrives in Israel strengthens us as a people, and this is all the more so when it comes to the growing aliyah from France,” Landver said in a statement ahead of their arrival.

France, notably the Paris region, has seen an elevated level of anti-Semitic attacks in recent months and more dramatically in recent weeks. The Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency recently implemented a new plan to encourage aliyah from France and to ease French Jews’ integration into Israeli society, including making it easier to transfer professional licensing and find jobs.

More than 5,000 French Jews are expected to immigrate to Israel by the end of 2014, up from 3,289 in 2013, and 1,917 in 2012. Some 2,600 French Jews arrived in Israel during the first six months of this year.