AMI to bring 650 French olim [pg. 8]

The French aliya organization AMI has arranged three flights to bring a total of 650 new immigrants on July 25. This is the first time in decades that such a large number of Jews have immigrated from France in a single day, Jewish Agency representatives said. AMI is a private initiative that works to turn French Jews' dream of a life in Israel into reality by offering financial aid and personalized counseling. Grants offered by AMI can reach $10,000 per family, in addition to the services it offers to help make immigrants' transition as smooth as possible. AMI is headed by Tunisian-born French tycoon Pierre Besnainou, who is also its primary source of funds. Besnainou is president of the European Jewish Congress as well. The AMI flights comprise two from Paris and one from Marseilles. According to Jewish Agency forecasts, close to 3,500 new immigrants from France will arrive this year, up from 3,005 in 2005. The three flights from France are among 10 special flights of new immigrants scheduled to arrive this summer from North America, France and Great Britain. The Jewish Agency projects that a total of 24,000 people will immigrate to Israel in 2006, up from 22,657 in 2005.