Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's Stopping French Jews from Moving to Israel?

י"ח לחודש האחד עשר תשע"ד

Arutz 7: Main Obstacle to French Aliyah: Non-Recognition of Diplomas
New Knesset Caucus for Olim from France discusses urgent need to remove obstacles to aliyah from France.

Gil Ronen, January 16, 2014

MK Yoni Chetboun
(Jewish Home)
The Knesset Caucus for Olim from France and Francophones in Israel was inaugurated Wednesday in the Knesset. The caucus is an initiative of MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), who will head it.

About 100 of the leaders of the organizations of immigrants from France attended the event, as did Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Immigration Ministry Director Oded Forer, Jewish Agency Director Josh Schwartz, World Zionist Federation Chairman Avraham Duvdevani, French MP Meir Haviv, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud Beytenu) and MKs Nissan Slomiansky, Shuli Moallem and Orit Struk of Bayit Yehudi, Karine Elharar and Rabbi Dov Lipman of Yesh Atid, and the Head of the Etzion Bloc Regional Council, Davidi Perl.

MK Chetboun, who was born into a family that made aliyah from France, said that the caucus intends to bring about practical and immediate change, to speed up the aliyah of French Jews. “The urgency is great,” he warned, “and it is important to understand is a national project that the government of Israel, with all of its ministers, must take upon itself.”

Chetboun said that at present, mistaken policies are blocking the potential stream of olim from France. “You can't expect aliyah and prevent it at the same time,” he added.

Minister Landver said that an inter-ministerial committee to encourage aliyah from France is currently being readied. “This is the window of opportunity,” she declared. “If we do not remove the obstacles, Jews will not immigrate to Israel.”

Director Forer said that while 60% of French Jews are considering emigrating, half of those prefer not to go to Israel.

One of the major obstacles to aliyah is the difficulty in getting diplomas and degrees recognized, mostly in medical professions...

...About 200,000 olim from France and French speaking countries, recent and veteran, live in Israel. In 2013 alone, 3,120 Jews made aliyah – a 63% rise from 2012. Unlike previous years – more olim came from France than from the US, and the trend is expected to gain strength.
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
I actually got wind of this issue on the bus a few weeks ago, when I heard a French Jew explain to some American college students that the French Baccalaureate was not accepted in Israel. I was surprised, because when I arrived in Israel, and lived with 300 college students in Tel Aviv, my understanding is that the French Baccalaureate was the only diploma accepted in Israel.

This meant that Jews from Morocco also had it made if they had been enrolled in a school which followed that system of study and examinations, examinations which are well-known, world-wide to be quite grueling. American and Canadian diplomas were virtually worthless, except for the receiving of an exemption in English, and perhaps other courses which could be skipped through examination.

Well, it is nice to know that MK's are actually trying to do something about it.

If this is the "major obstacle," it gets removed, and then French Jews come en masse, then fantastic. If they still decide to stick around France, or move elsewhere, then I am not what I can say to that, except that we tried.

The WZF Chair also mentioned the need to improve Jewish identity among French Jews. I believe that is also important, and could help.

I recommend a French Birthright type program. That way the Jewish identity of the French youth can be connected with the building of their connection to the Land of Israel.

I am happy to hear that increases in aliyah from France are expected to continue. However, I also believe very strongly that increases in violence targeting Jews will continue as well. And so, I do not think that we have that much time to achieve the implementation of one or two, super programs.

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