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December 27, 2013 12:28 pm

Jerusalem Set to Approve Program Aimed at Bringing Thousands More French Jews to Israel

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Some of the 106 children making Aliyah. Photo: Shahar Azran.

The Israeli government is expected to approve a program aimed at bringing thousands of French Jews to the country over the next three years, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Friday.

A budget is currently being prepared for the initiative that intends to redirect Jews who are currently emigrating from France to other parts of the world to consider Israel as a viable alternative.

According to information collected at Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora, tens of thousands of French Jews emigrated in 2013 to London , Canada and the United States. In comparison, a mere 3,000 immigrated to Israel from France during this same period, Ma’ariv said.

In order to attract French Jews to Israel, the government will take major steps in enhancing employment opportunities; increasing higher education options and easing the process of finding a place to live.

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To realize these goals, the government is expected to begin recognizing licences obtained in France for various medical professions as well as fields related to tax consulting. Furthermore, special efforts will be made to place French immigrants drafted into the IDF in units tailored to the unique skills of the new arrivals. Another facet of this outreach effort is to expand the scope of the ‘Masa’ and ‘Taglit’ programs to include Jewish communities in France.

The program will be limited to three years and the target is to double the number of French immigrants each year: 6,000 in 2014, 12,ooo in 2015 and 24,000 in 2016.

While the exact cost of the program is unknown at this time, a government official told Ma’ariv that the goal is to, “…create a window of opportunity for French Jewry. Come now, under favorable conditions, since we can’t commit [beyond the three years].”

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