Netanyahu presented with emergency plan to absorb 120,000 French Jews

By Sam Sokol, JPOST

jewish london

Indicating displeasure with Israel’s immigration promotion and absorption strategy, the Jewish People Policy Institute last week presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with its emergency plan for the absorption of 120,000 French immigrants.

According to the high profile Jerusalem think tank, which maintains close ties with the Jewish Agency and senior politicians, Israel has thus far not implemented the necessary policies to compete with the United States, Canada, and various European states in attracting highly educated and business savvy French Jews.

According to JPPI senior fellow Dr. Dov Maimon – himself a French immigrant – despite the increase in French aliya over the past several years, the number of people making the move is relatively small compared to the large numbers of people who have made inquiries with the Jewish Agency.

Agency chairman Natan Sharansky recently told The Jerusalem Post that some 50,000 French Jews had requested information on aliya during 2014.

“When you have 100,000 people who come to your shop to look at a car and only 7,000 buy it at the end of the day, the conversion rate is seven percent. The conversion rate [regarding aliya] is very low,” Maimon told the Post.

“We have made a market study. We have reached out to those people who want to come and didn’t come and asked them ‘why don’t you come?’ and they tell us three things: employment, affordable housing, and social life.”

The JPPI believes Israel can entice 30,000 French Jews to come here annually over the next four years if it implements a policy shift away from the older model used in bringing over Jews from Morocco, Ethiopia, and the Soviet Union, he explained.

“The old paradigm was reaching out to in populations in distress…and you send them to [periphery development towns like ] Dimona and then they have nowhere to go. Today people have a choice. People who are not satisfied in Dimona will move back to France or Canada or America.”

Given that French emigres can work all over Europe and that places like the Canadian province of Quebec recognize their degrees and professional qualifications and actively recruit French graduates to move, Israel’s efforts, unless revamped, may prove insufficient to woo young, educated Jews, he added.

According to Maimon, the most important thing Israel can do to bring French Jews en masse to Israel is to “give tax incentives and job creation incentives” as well as provide subsidies for people who could create jobs here.

In its report, the JPPI recommended that Israel should establish an administrative body within the Prime Minister’s Office to coordinate all immigration from western Europe, a suggestion that Maimon said is significant because such work requires an increase in scope beyond what can be accomplished by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.

“They are not the right people,” commented Maimon.

The report also recommended the establishment of a commission tasked with removing the administrative barriers prevented French professionals from working here.

When someone can use their French diploma anywhere in Europe and moving to Israel requires new testing just to continue working in a field in which one has toiled for years, there is less incentive to move, he explained.

One option, Maimon recommended, is a two-year, temporary measure to allow for the recognition of French degrees without any bureaucratic hassles.

“The committee will deal with, among other things, issues related to education, academics, military service and contact with the IDF, employment, published work permits and recognition of professional degrees, encouraging the relocation business and capital investment and housing,” according to the report.

Tax benefits, the formation of business incubators geared toward French entrepreneurs and the establishment of French communities and neighborhoods centered around Francophone social services and business enterprises would also serve to promote immigration, JPPI asserted.

Others have made such suggestions in the past.

Speaking with the Post in August, Tel Aviv businessman Edouard Cukierman, the son of Roger Cukierman, the president of the French communal umbrella organization CRIF, said that the Israeli business community must do more to attract French workers.

The Jewish Agency “does a good job for the average immigrant,” but does not know how to address the needs of educated classes from affluent Western nations as well as it deals with mass aliya, Cukierman said, adding that “they have very different needs from the standard immigrant.”

Late last year, the cabinet approved a new initiative to reform the byzantine bureaucracy involved in integrating accredited members of white collar professions into the labor market.

Doctors, physiotherapists, architects and other professionals will have easier transitions to Israeli society, the government announced last November, although no results have yet been announced.

In an interview with the Post earlier this month, absorption Minister Sofa Landver called upon the Ministries of Health, Education, Economy and Finance to lower such all barriers immediately, as a temporary measure pending legislation on the issue.

“We must immediately prepare for the absorption of many thousands of Jews from France. The figures we have already gathered show that thousands of Jews will shortly arrive, and we expect 15,000 this year alone, many more than were expected before the wave of terrorist attacks in France. Unless we put together a plan for their absorption from an economic point of view, they will be liable to emigrate to other countries.

The professionals in the government must review the plan and promote it,” Globes cited Natan Sharansky as saying.

Asked about the plan, a Jewish Agency spokesman said they “welcome all constructive discourse surrounding aliya. The activities of The Jewish Agency and of its partners in the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption reflect the range of possibilities and needs at any given time, in order to best address whatever situations may arise – in France as well as elsewhere.

The ongoing discussions regarding aliya involve a variety of parties and documents such as this one and can be helpful in guiding the conversation and serving as a basis for practical planning among all those concerned.”

A spokesman for the Absorption Ministry said he was not familiar with the JPPI plan.

January 26, 2015 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. @ Bear Klein:
    Very good, BK.

    And what Israel needs right now is an Aliya Bet from Greater Tel Aviv to all parts of Yesha.

    On the other hand, maybe Prime Minister Netanyahu will begin to reason with the Jewish common sense that we all supposedly have, and figures out that no political surrenders or even gestures of friendliness made to Fatah, Hamas, the EU, the UNO, Obama, Kerry, et al, will have any effect other than to cause all the Jew-haters of the world to despise Jews all the more.

    When and if that happens, then maybe he will finally turn this Aliya Bet routine into a just plain Aliya and start mass populating Area C.

    But even if he doesn’t go that far, the Yesha Jewish population doubles to about 800,000 in about 16 years — at a steady rate of about 4 per cent per year. It’s called urban sprawl, and developers do it around every metro area in the USA.

    The more people we have settled there, the more that facts turn into FACTS. Imagine trying to give Manhattan Island back to whichever American Indian tribe got suckered into giving the island to the Dutch back in the early 17th century, in return for a pile of glass beads or whatever other trinkets they brought over here from Europe.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  2. Aliyah Bet is the Hebrew term that refers to the clandestine immigration of Jews to Palestine between 1920 and 1948, when Great Britain controlled the area.

    The Hebrew word “aliyah” (literally, “ascent”) commonly refers to immigration to the Land of Israel, while “bet” (the Hebrew equivalent of the letter “B”) here implies something unofficial or secret. The phrase Aliyah Bet describes the movement of Jewish refugees, many of them survivors of the Holocaust, not permitted to enter Palestine by the British authorities. Initiated by Zionist activists as the urgency for Jews to leave Europe intensified, this phenomenon was referred to by the British as “illegal” immigration. By 1948, well over 100,000 people had taken this route, including more than 70,000 Holocaust survivors.

  3. Israel needs just about every member of the Jewish nation who can be brought home. That goes for the Tsarfati Jews as well as any others. Above all, Israel and the Jewish nation both need them especially settled in Shomron and Yehuda, and especially in Area C.

    If that tactic is consistently followed, then Area C can be held and kept by Israel, regardless of foreign pressures and timid Israeli leaders. Israel does not have to formally annex Jewish Area C; just change over from military to civil control, with Zahal units deployed only where needed along the Jordan River border with Trans-Jordan. De facto sovereignty over territory is just as good as de jure sovereignty, and in the case of Israel, is about all you can get from most of the rest of the world.

    Solidified control of Area C, in turn, will enable Israel to take over control of Area B as well, with a combination of military outposts and civilian settlements. That leaves only the larger Arab cities that comprise Area A, which is precisely where the great majority of the Shomron and Yehuda Arabs reside.

    Concurrent with growing a growing Jewish population more or less evenly spread around Shomron and Yehuda, it will be relatively easy for Israel to get rid of the Fatah gang which they foolishly recognized for the Oslo accords. Because the remaining parts of Arab-controlled Shomron and Yehuda will then be limited to about eight widely-separated cities, it will be easy for Israel to shut off any connection connection or communications with Fatah, and negotiate directly with the leaderships of the Arab clans and other notable families in each of those cities, so that each such city would have its own autonomous local rule mutually agreed to by them and the Israeli government.

    There are follow-up steps to all of the above:

    Followup step 1: With Israel firmly de facto civil control of most of Shomron and Yehuda, and military control of the cities under local Arab autonomous control, it will be easy for Jerusalem to effectuate the shutdown of the UNO’s UNRWA camps, expelling the foreign staffs, and paying for the services of Europe-bound smugglers, just expel the residents of the camps to Europe, where they become someone else’s headache.

    Followup step 2: Terminate the agreement Dayan foolishly and cowardly made with the kinglet of Trans-Jordan after the Six-Day War, which put the Temple Mount under total control of a foreign Wagf. Then, permit Jews to regular pray wherever they wish to do so on the temple mount, include inside the Dome on the Rock that covers Mount Moriah, where Avraham Aveinu and his son had their fateful encounter almost 4000 years ago.

    The Arabs around Jerusalem will get nasty about all this. And when they become just too pugnacious, then that’s what I suppose that’s why HaShem invented Louisville Slugger 42-ounce baseball bats, exactly what Babe Ruth was armed with back in the 1920s in his glorious years in Yankee Stadium in New York. You can truly break bones with those bats. And when I was a kid, some of the old timers told me that’s exactly what Chicago’s Jewish West Side gangs used to gain respect from other gangs who wanted their own turf but not let our guys have theirs.

    Anyway, all that’s exactly what I call “building peace”.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  4. Just keep on ignoring the Truth, its almost 70 years since Israel became a state, that is the time line for a major event to happen to the world, these Jews from all over Europe and other countries are being drawn to their homeland for the return of the Messiah. Believe me there are scholars and learned professors reporting on this event and know the signs of the End times, the End of the Age.

  5. @ Anne:

    The First Aliyah (also The Farmers’ Aliyah) was the first modern widespread wave of Zionist aliyah. Jews who migrated to Ottoman Palestine in this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. “The First Aliyah began in 1882 and continued, intermittently, until 1903”.[1][2] An estimated 25,000[3]–35,000[4] Jews immigrated to Ottoman Palestine during the First Aliyah. While all throughout history Jews immigrated to Israel (such as the Vilna Gaon’s group), these were generally smaller groups with more religious motives, and did not have a purely secular political goal in mind.

  6. @ bernard ross: No actually.

    Israel wants educated Jewish immigrants but is very bureaucratic and has rules about degrees and accepting of such degrees just like all countries.