What a befitting way to celebrate “Aliyah!” French “olim” light candles in Israel for the first time.
Some 50 French Jewish immigrants landed in Israel, their new home, on Tuesday evening, and the first thing they did as Israelis was celebrate their freedom and their homeland by lighting the “Chanukah” candles.
The “olim” [immigrants] were greeted with a festive welcome ceremony hosted by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. The immigrants, who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, were greeted by Chairman of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky.
The “Chanukiah” was lit by Dan Shalom Ammar, his wife Audrey, and their children Lily, Natan, and Tali, who came from Paris and will be living in the central Israeli city of Modi’in. All in attendance joined in singing the traditional candle-lighting songs before concluding with Israel’s national anthem, “HaTikvah” (“The Hope”).
“You have come from the City of Lights on the Festival of Lights,” Sharansky told the new “olim.” “We at The Jewish Agency have accompanied you throughout your “aliyah” process and we will continue to accompany you for the remainder of your journey, as you become fully integrated into Israeli society. Welcome home.”
More than 7,000 French Jews have made “aliyah” [immigrated to Israel] so far in 2015, a 10% increase compared to last year. 2014 broke all previous records for French “aliyah” with the arrival of some 7,200 new immigrants over the course of the year.
The current wave of French “aliyah” comes in the midst of a joint effort by the Immigration Ministry and the Jewish Agency to maintain the high rate of immigration from France and increase “aliyah” from around the world. “Aliyah” from France has risen steeply in recent years, and France has become the number one source of immigration for the first time, primarily as a result of the spike in anti-Semitism and Islamic terror in the country.
Europe has seen a surge of anti-Semitic attacks throughout the continent, and the situation in France, home to 500,000-600,000 Jews, is extremely dire.