The number of French Jews moving to Israel continues to increase, according to figures released by the local Jewish community this week. By August of this year, 5,100 Jews will have moved to Israel, up from 4,000 during the same period in 2014, a 25 percent increase.
The Jewish communal organizations of France keep track of these numbers, and submit them to Israel’s Immigrant Absorption Ministry each year. According to Ynet, the ministry “estimates that by the end of 2015 the number of immigrants from France will reach 9,000, compared to 7,200 in 2014.”
“According to the indications we have, we are preparing for a big wave of olim from France this summer,” Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin reportedly said. “In order for their absorption to be smoother, we need to listen to the new immigrants. That’s my belief. Even the most skilled and professional official doesn’t know better than the Oleh what he needs. I say this having been a new immigrant, and having dealt with the issue for years.”
One the one hand, the spike in French aliyah bears out predictions made in the wake of January’s attack on Paris’s Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. On the other, the immigration figures also affirm that the majority of France’s 475,000 Jews—the largest diaspora Jewish community in Europe—are staying put. The challenge for Israel, as Elkin noted, is to integrate those Jews of France who choose to leave. The challenge for the global Jewish community is to support and advocate for those who choose to remain.