Sharansky on why the Chosen People are choosing aliyah

F150331HP09-965x543With a dramatic influx of French immigrants, the Jewish Agency head heralds this year as the height of aliyah by choice versus necessity


JTA — In their central Jerusalem apartment, Natan and Avital Sharansky can hear their new upstairs neighbors chatting in French on their patio.

The young family moved into the penthouse earlier this month, shortly after immigrating to Israel with help of the Jewish Agency for Israel — the semi-official organization for Jewish immigration to Israel, or aliyah, which Natan Sharansky has headed since 2009.
The family is part of a major increase in aliyah from France, amid rising levels of anti-Semitism and economic stagnation in that country. In 2014, 6,668 French people made aliyah — a record number of newcomers in a single year from France — making that country the largest provider of Jewish immigrants to Israel for the first time in a given year.

But the Sharanskys and others don’t need data to confirm the influx of French arrivals. They are in plain sight from Ashdod, where shop signs assure prospective customers that they have French-speaking staff, to Netanya, where some taxi drivers use broken, newly acquired French to communicate with tens of thousands of Francophones now living in the city.

Read Entire story in Times of Israel

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