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  • French olim landed at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv - Israel on Wednesday July 21, 2021 | Photo: JAFI
News

A Summer Full of Joy

27 July 2021

By Christians for Israel.. Jeremy’s dearest wish from early childhood on was to live in Israel, one fine day. His wish started to grow when he discovered that France was changing. He grew up in Sarcelles, a town in the outskirts of Paris where immigrants and French had been living for centuries in a mosaic of cultures. But the atmosphere changed in Paris in recent years. Antisemitism became increasingly “normal”. This was notable in Jeremy’s life as well. He got used to doff his skullcap in the Metro and to hide his chain with the Star of David under his shirt. That’s the way it was, he was used to that.

“In Sarcelles, a town in the outskirts of Paris where immigrants and French had been living for centuries antisemitism became increasingly “normal””

Until the day everything changed. His grandfather, a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), now 86 years old, became a victim of a violent mugging in the street, in broad daylight. His chain with the Star of David was roughly pulled from his neck while he was scolded and beaten. This was the last straw for Jeremy. He decided to take the plunge and go to Israel. He didn’t feel at home anymore in his beloved France. He wanted to be able to live proudly as a Jew, without fear. Together with his parents and his younger brother he arrived in his new homeland Israel!

Jeremy (right on the photo) with his parents and younger brother. Starting Wednesday July 21, 2021 Israel is their new Home Land! | Photo: JAFI

Special day
Wednesday July 21 was a day full of joy in Israel. A group of 160 French-Jewish immigrants (olim) arrived that afternoon on Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, aboard a special flight from Paris, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. Jeremy was one of them.

The newcomers were accompanied during the flight by the Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Pnina Tamano-Shata. The aliyah of Jews from France to Israel has increased in 2021 by 137 per cent. The flight was organized partly due to the support of Christians for Israel.

With about 500,000 people, the Jewish community in France is the largest in the world, outside Israel and the United States. About 1,370 French immigrants made aliyah in the first half of the year, compared to 578 the same period last year. In the pandemic year 2020 there was an enormous increase of aliyah applications from France: 6,053 compared to 2,475 in 2019. The Jewish Agency received more than 14,000 phone calls from people who were interested to emigrate from France to Israel.

“The Jewish people is coming to Israel and we receive them with open arms. This is our real home”

Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the executive of the World Zionist Organization: “Since the days of Abraham and our ancestors we had to deal with disasters, wars, challenges and most recently a worldwide pandemic. Yet, the Jewish people is coming to Israel and we receive them with open arms. This is our real home. Today 160 olim arrived to strengthen our people and by doing this they fulfil their dreams to be connected with the Land of Israel. Welcome home!”

Have a look at the photo gallery below.

But that was not the only nice thing that happened on Wednesday July 21. Thanks to the support of Christians for Israel 1,500 children can enjoy a warm welcome in Israel. These children emigrated to Israel in the past months. Most of them come from Ethiopia, but some come from Muslim countries they fled with their families. On Wednesday July 21 the Summer activities started for these children: days full of joy. After the months of lockdown and staying in the bomb shelters for weeks because of the Hamas violence, this day was a real relief for them. The children couldn’t get enough of it: they ran from activity to activity: making music, blowing bubbles, stroking animals, climbing and playing in the hay, and of course a delicious lunch. Roger van Oordt was there. One of the children told Roger: “Thank you for this Summer full of joy!”

Enjoy the magnificent photos of the Summer activities below.