(Jerusalem, June 28, 2016)—This Tuesday, a flight full of French kids and their parents touched down at Ben Gurion Airport. These 82 new arrivals are the first of 500 French Jews who will arrive this summer aboard the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ)’s Freedom Flights to Israel.
After spending $187 million USD over the years to bring Jews to Israel, the IFCJ created its own Aliyah department in December 2014 to make sure that every Jew who wishes to resettle in Israel is able to do so, as president and founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s explained. To date, IFCJ has resettled 3,334 olim in Israel.
What began as monthly Aliyah flights to rescue Jewish refugees from war-torn Ukraine quickly blossomed into a robust immigration operation that resettles Jews from Lugansk to Lyon and many countries in between, among them Spain, Moldova, Brazil, France, Russia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Melilla and several Arab lands. The expansion came as Jews from all over the world began to reach out to Eckstein, asking for his help to bring them to Israel, too.
In the first two weeks of May alone, IFCJ received over 1,000 calls from French Jews interested in joining their Aliyah flights. The majority of this summer’s olim are families with young kids looking to live a better, more secure Jewish life in Israel.
Rabbi Eckstein: “Aliyah is not a dusty relic from the Fifties or the Nineties. Recent events demand that Israel—and the entire global Jewish community—step up their efforts. Many Jews living in France are being threatened by anti-Semitism and economic hardship; we must do our utmost to help them.”
And help them we do, with a comprehensive assistance package that provides each new immigrant with rent subsidies, grocery vouchers, job placement services, childcare, an Israeli “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” who can share with new immigrants the ins and outs of life in Israel, and more.
“Now that the IFCJ is providing a more streamlined, personalized Aliyah alternative to the old, bureaucratic way of doing things, the skies have become a lot friendlier for olim. We broke the Aliyah monopoly ten years ago when we helped launch Nefesh B’Nefesh and we’re doing it now again—all over the world, bringing 4,000 Jews to Israel since December 2014,” Eckstein added.


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