World Jewish News
Israel: Important drop in number of new immigrants from France
After three years of unprecedented growth, the number of Jewish immigrants from France to Israel has shown a large decline despite fears of terrorism and anti-Semitism in the country.
The number of Jewish people making aliyah (immigrating to Israel from France
In the first eight months of 2016, the number of Jews making aliyah from France has dropped by 42 % from the same period in 2015.
In its latest report for the last Jewish year, the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) showed that only 3,452 people have immigrated to Israel from the country between January and August 2016, compared to 5,930 people in the same period of 2015.
JPPI mentioned several factors for the dramatic decline, among them the French authorities' commitment to protect the Jewish community and battle anti-Semitism, the fact that most of the Zionist Jews in France have already made aliyah, and the rise of terrorist activity in Israel which has weakened its comparative appeal with French Jewry.
Another explanation is French Jews' concerns regarding the Israeli job market and their place in it. Apparently, a significant amount of French Jewish emigrants choose countries other than Israel for this reason.
But according to the JPPI report, an estimated 200,000 French Jews, 40 % of the entire community, the largest in western Europe, have, in two recent surveys, expressed interest in immigrating to Israel. “The aliyah slowdown does not necessarily indicate that the pool of French Jewish aliyah candidates has ‘dried up’ or that interest in immigration has lessened,” according to the report. “Rather, it likely indicates the existence of delaying factors that have yet to be addressed.”
The report recommends that rather than invest more time and effort in campaigns to encourage French Jews to immigrate, the government would be best advised to focus on helping those who have already arrived adjust to life in Israel. “In our view, accelerating the pace of immigration from France does not entail augmenting current aliyah-management efforts,” they write. “Not is there a need for aggressive marketing campaigns or additional aliyah fairs. What is needed is a response to the basic needs of employment, including degree recognition, professional training, job placement and assistance in finding affordable housing,’’ the report said.