Israel accepted 200 French Jews into its country Wednesday, adding to the already record number of Jewish immigrants from France and other Western nation, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
According to the JTA, migration to Israel by French Jews has grown over the past five years. Around 7,800 French Jewish immigrants came to Israel in 2015.
The Jerusalem Post reports the French Jewish population outnumbers other Jewish communities in Europe and their numbers, with almost 500,000, are just behind Israel.
Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver called the French immigration “a Zionist and principled Aliya (immigration to Israel) that has contributed and will continue to contribute greatly to the State of Israel,” JPost reported.
JTA notes that more than 10 percent of this specific community in France immigrated to Israel for the past 17 years—half of this population since 2012. JPost reports that over the past three years, mostly from Paris, made the move to Israel.
Daniel Benhaim, who supervises the Jewish Agency Board of Governors offices in France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain told JPost last February there are three main reasons why there is a spike in French Jewish migration to Israel, and one is that France’s Jewish community fear for their personal safety.
“The first one is the concern about the Jewish place in Europe, as its identity changes and becomes increasingly Muslim,” Benhaim said. “The second one involves security for people in general, and Jews in particular. And the third one involves the economic conditions in Europe, which has remained in a crisis since 2008. I think all of these concerns together create a feeling of instability, and when there is a lack of stability there is more [motivation] to make aliya.”
However, last year immigration level of French Jews dropped, because of obstacles new immigrants faced regarding employment and having previous professional work credentials recognized by Israeli government institutions.
Those with French medical degrees, though, now have their credentials recognized by the Israeli government Health Ministry.