Some 430 immigrants from France landed in Israel Wednesday evening amid rocket fire on their new home country.
Two chartered flights organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption landed Wednesday evening at Ben Gurion Airport, and the new olim, mostly from Paris and its suburbs, were welcomed in a special ceremony. The new immigrants include 18 babies and 195 children and teens.
“Your aliyah is the best answer to our enemies’ rockets,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said at the ceremony. “Welcome to the family.”
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 will reside in Tel Aviv and the center of the country, 130 in Netanya and about 50 in Jerusalem.
None of the immigrants scheduled to arrive had canceled due to the current rocket fire on the country, the Jewish Agency said.
“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,” Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said in a statement.
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 plan to encourage aliyah from France and ease French Jews’ integration into Israeli society.
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.