Aliyah from France in has rapidly grown over the past year with 854 new immigrants arriving in the first two months of 2014, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced on Sunday.
According to JAFI, these immigrants represent a threefold increase over the same period last year and are part of an “upward trend in French Aliyah.”
Immigration from France has been attributed to several factors, including increased anti-semitism, a stagnant European economy and concomitant high youth unemployment rates.
Recent findings by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency indicated that a third of Jews from several Western European countries were considering emigration due to anti-Semitism, though it was not indicated that Israel is the only destination that they are considering.
JAFI attributed the rise in French aliyah “in part to increased efforts by The Jewish Agency to strengthen the French Jewish community’s relationship” in addition to the social problems facing the country’s Jews.
Earlier this month the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption announced that it will allocate between four and five million Dollars to for activities and programs run by the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization and the United Israel Appeal aimed at promoting French aliyah.
According to the ministry’s figures, there are some 700,000 people in France eligible to come to Israel under the Law of Return.
3,120 French Jews moved to Israel in 2013, up from 1,916 in 2012, according to figures released by the Ministry in December.
“2014 is thus set to continue the significant upward trend in French Aliyah, which saw the arrival of 3,280 new olim in 2013, a 70% increase compared to the 1,917 olim who arrived in 2012,” JAFI prognosticated in a statement Sunday.
JAFI also reported that it had “seen a significant rise in the number of Jewish young people interested in participating in Israel experience programs.”
Bac Bleu Blanc, an agency program promoting “opportunities for life in Israel” for high school graduates, has enrolled 1000 participants while 1000 others are currently participating in educational frameworks here through Masa.
70% of Masa participants make aliyah, JAFI stated.
JAFI, the ministry and the World Zionist organization held an aliyah fair in Paris on Sunday, drawing “Thousands of Jews from throughout France,” the agency announced.