World Bulletin/News Desk
As immigration to Israel has dipped over the past 10 years, France is the only country seeing a growing number of its Jewish citizens move there, the Washington Post reports.
The reasons the French newcomers differs: They love Israel, or at least the idea of Israel; the economy in France is weak, especially for young people; and perhaps most important, they say they feel a rise in anti-Semitism in France, from the subtle forms — promotions passed over, party invitations that never arrive — to the most overt.
According to the report, immigration to Israel is called making “aliyah,” which in Hebrew means “the act of going up” or “ascending.” And it is slowing, despite intensive, expensive outreach — and outright wooing — by the government and private organizations. About 19,200 Jews immigrated to Israel last year, down a bit from the 22,139 who came a decade ago.
Against that backdrop, France is the exception. There were 3,270 French arrivals last year, an increase of 63 percent from 2012, according to Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Percentage-wise, that is a far greater number than the 3,070 Jews who emigrated from the United States, which has many more Jews than France. The French consul here has said that as many as 150,000 French nationals may now be living in Israel.
Israel is a country built by immigration, and it is a core national mission to populate the country with as many Jews as possible.
There are religious, moral and practical reasons for this. Known as the Jewish state, Israel is 75 percent Jewish; most of the rest of the population is Muslim, with a smaller number of Christians, Druze and other minorities. Some Israelis fear what they call a “demographic time bomb” that would see the Arab Muslim population in Israel grow steeply in proportion to the Jewish population.Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2014, 09:22