French Jews in Israel

French Jews in Israel are immigrants and descendants of the immigrants of the French Jewish communities, who now reside within the state of Israel. They numbered over 200,000 as of 2012.[1]

French Jews in Israel
Total population
200,000 (2012)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Ashdod, Beersheba and many other places
Hebrew, French, Arabic

Today, most Jews in France are of Maghrebi extraction. Most of the recent immigration from France to Israel consists of Jews of North African extraction.[2]

Although French Jews have migrated to Israel since the formation of the state in 1948, immigration has increased since 2000 due to antisemitism. Over ten percent of the French Jewish community emigrated to Israel between 2000 and 2017.[3]

Israel is home to the largest French minority immigrant community in Middle East.[citation needed]


From 2000 to 2009, more than 13,000 French Jews made aliyah, largely as a result of growing antisemitism in the country. A peak was reached in 2005, with 2,951 olim. However, between 20–30% eventually returned to France.[4] After the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, French aliyah dropped due to the Jewish community's comfort with him. In 2010 only 1,286 French Jews made aliyah.[5]

By 2012, some 200,000 French citizens lived in Israel.[1] During the same year, following the election of François Hollande and the Jewish school shooting in Toulouse, as well as ongoing acts of anti-semitism and the European economic crisis, an increasing number of French Jews began buying property in Israel.[6] In August 2012, it was reported that anti-semitic attacks had risen by 40% in the five months following the Toulouse shooting, and that many French Jews were seriously considering immigrating to Israel.[7] In 2013, 3,120 French Jews immigrated to Israel, marking a 63% increase over the previous year.[8] In the first two months of 2014, French Jewish aliyah increased precipitously by 312% with 854 French Jews making aliyah over the first two months. Immigration from France throughout 2014 has been attributed to several factors, of which includes increasing antisemitism, in which many Jews have been harassed and attacked by a fusillade of local thugs and gangs, a stagnant European economy and concomitant high youth unemployment rates.[9][10][11][12]

During the first few months of 2014, The Jewish Agency of Israel has continued to encourage an increase of French aliyah through aliyah fairs, Hebrew-language courses, sessions which assist in potential olim to find jobs in Israel, and immigrant absorption in Israel.[13] A May 2014 survey revealed that 74 percent of French Jews consider leaving France for Israel where of the 74 percent, 29.9 percent cited anti-Semitism. Another 24.4 cited their desire to "preserve their Judaism," while 12.4 percent said they were attracted by other countries. "Economic considerations" was cited by 7.5 percent of the respondents.[14] By June 2014, it was estimated by the end of 2014 a full 1 percent of the French Jewish community will have made aliyah to Israel, the largest in a single year. Many Jewish leaders stated the emigration is being driven by a combination of factors, including the cultural gravitation towards Israel and France's economic woes, especially for the younger generation drawn by the possibility of other socioeconomic opportunities in the more vibrant Israeli economy.[15][16] During the Hebrew year 5774 (September 2013 - September 2014) for the first time ever, more Jews made Aliyah from France than any other country, with approximately 6,000 French Jews making aliyah, mainly fleeing rampant antisemitism, pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist violence and economic malaise with France becoming the top sending country for aliyah as of late September 2014.[17][18]

In January 2015, events such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting and Porte de Vincennes hostage crisis created a shock wave of fear across the French Jewish community. As a result of these events, the Jewish Agency created an aliyah plan for 120,000 French Jews who wish to make aliyah.[19][20] In addition, with Europe's stagnant economy as of early 2015, many affluent French Jewish skilled professionals, businesspeople and investors have sought Israel as a start-up haven for international investments, as well as job and new business opportunities.[21] In addition, Dov Maimon, a French Jewish émigré who studies migration as a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, expects as many as 250,000 French Jews to make aliyah by the year 2030.[21]

Hours after an attack and an ISIS flag was raised on a gas factory Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack near Lyon where the severed head of a local businessman was pinned to the gates on June 26, 2015, Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin strongly urged the French Jewish community to move to Israel and made it a national priority for Israel to welcome the French Jewish community with open arms.[22][23] Immigration from France is on the rise: in the first half of 2015, approximately 5,100 French Jews made aliyah to Israel marking 25% more than in the same period during the previous year.[24]

With the November 2015 Paris attacks committed by suspected ISIS affiliates in retaliation for Opération Chammal, some Israeli media sources claimed more than 80 percent of French Jews are considering making aliyah while others noted that French Jews realized that not just Jews but French people in general were now indiscriminate targets of jihadist terrorism.[25][26][27] In 2015, a total of 7,835 French people moved to Israel.[28] This dropped to about 5,200 in 2016 and 3,500 in 2017.[29][30] In 2019, 2227 people immigrated from France, a 7.8% decrease from the 2018 immigration figure of 2416 total immigrants.[31][32]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Podolsky, Philip (2012-08-10). "France reportedly draws up plans to evacuate 200,000 Franco-Israelis in case of war". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  2. ^ "immigration francophone en Israel, chiffres alya".
  3. ^ "200 French olim arrive aboard summer's largest aliya flight from Europe".
  4. ^ "Le chiffre de l'alya des Juifs de France ne décolle pas!" (in French). Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Oops, Something is wrong" (PDF).
  6. ^ Petersberg, Ofer (23 May 2012). "Is crisis bringing French Jews to Israel?". Ynetnews. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  7. ^ "French Anti-Semitic Attacks Up by 40 Percent". CBN. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Immigration to Israel Rises by 7% — Led by French". Forward. December 29, 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  9. ^ Sam Sokol (2014-03-30). "Jewish Agency touts French aliyah increase". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  10. ^ "2014 Sees Sharp Rise in French Immigration to Israel". The Forward Association, Inc. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  11. ^ Yaakov Levi (30 March 2014). "312% Rise in French Aliyah in First Months of 2014". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  12. ^ Marcus Dysch (March 31, 2014). "Hate fears push French aliyah to new high".
  13. ^ Josh Hasten (April 7, 2014). "French anti-Semitism and French aliyah skyrocket on parallel tracks". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  14. ^ "74% of French Jews Consider Leaving Country". Forward. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  15. ^ Moshe Cohen (2014-06-22). "Jewish Agency: 'Dramatic' Rise in French, Ukraine Aliyah". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  16. ^ Dan Bilefsky (June 20, 2014). "Number of French Jews Emigrating to Israel Rises". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  17. ^ Ronen, Gil (22 September 2014). "Ahead of New Year, Aliyah Hits 5-Year High". Israel National News. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  18. ^ 24,800 new immigrants arrive in Israel in 5774 - Retrieved 22 September 2014
  19. ^ "Jewish Agency-affiliated think tank composes aliyah plan for 120,000 French Jews". JTA News. January 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "Aliyah plan prepares for 120,000 French Jews". JWeekly. January 29, 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Israel Gains With Influx of French Jewish Entrepreneurs". Bloomberg. January 22, 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  22. ^ Raziye Akkoc and Henry Samuel (26 June 2015). "Grenoble attack: Man found beheaded and Islamist flag raised above factory in France - latest". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Come home!' Israeli minister urges French Jews amid terror wave". Times of Israel. June 26, 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Israel's Absorption Ministry Plans for Influx of French Jews". Algemeiner. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  25. ^ Cohen, Shimon (16 November 2015). "80% of French Jews considering aliyah". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  26. ^ Amanda Borschel-Dan (15 November 2015). "French now realizing they, and not just Jews, are targets". Times of Israel. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  27. ^ Shitbon, Shirli (14 November 2015). "For French Jews, a New Reality: Under Attack for Being French, Not Jewish". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  28. ^ "Large dip in number of French immigrants to Israel". 10 August 2016.
  29. ^ "User-friendly aliya".
  30. ^ "Between two worlds: French Jews at a crossroads". 27 January 2018.
  31. ^ TABLE 2 - IMMIGRANTS, BY CONTINENT AND SELECTED LAST COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE (PDF) (Report). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.
  32. ^ Immigration to Israel 2019 (PDF) (Report). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. July 26, 2020.
  33. ^ Halutz, Doron; Melnikov, Ilya (Dec 16, 2011). "There's something unusual about Sarah Adler". Haaretz. Tel Aviv, Israel. Retrieved Oct 28, 2013.
  34. ^ Interview with Dov Alfon in David Remnik: "The Future of Israeli Newspaper Haaretz" The New Yorker, Feb 28, 2011
  35. ^ Israeli teams tell Diaspora Jews: Make aliyah, for soccer's sake! - Haaretz - Israel News |
  36. ^ Spunder, Or (January 24, 2008). הקשר ג'ונתן אסוס מועמד למכבי ת"א (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  37. ^ Meet the MK: Yoni Chetboun, Lahav Harkov, Published: 13.02.2013
  38. ^ Entre Paris Et Tel Aviv. Haaretz (in French)
  39. ^ Shechnik, Raz (29 July 2008). "Yael Naim makes the cut". Ynetnews. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  40. ^ L'Chayim (2017): Rudy Rochman.
  41. ^ *Spencer, Richard (19 October 2011). "Israel: Gilad Shalit 'joked with military doctors over health'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.