The Fellowship continues to bring home new olim (immigrants) from France, a place where many Jews have recently started to worry about anti-Semitic attacks and harassment. One prominent Rabbi in Nice, France, explains why he decided to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) with The Fellowship. Writers at Yediot Achronot tell us more.
Together with the rabbi came 144 new immigrants with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. They received a warm welcome at Ben Gurion Airport, and they each left from there in their own directions to new lives in Israel.
Lanker, a married father of seven and grandfather of 15, was a rabbi in Nice's Jewish community for 20 years. He also taught Talmud at a Jewish school in the city. Up until a few years ago, his synagogue was completely full on the Sabbath, but then something began to change. Congregants said that they were scared to come, and seats began to empty…
Three of his children, Ma'ayanah, Rivkah, and Devorah, immigrated to Israel two years ago. His wife, Monique, finished the process three months ago and has joined her husband. A fourth child, Sarah, intends to immigrate with her family in September, and the remaining family intends to stay in Nice.
When asked if they had experienced any anti-Semitic violence in Nice, Sarah recounted, "My son doesn't wear a kipah outside of the school. One day, he was wearing a hat; a few youths yelled that he was Jewish, took off his hat and hit him. He managed to get away from them and run home. We were in shock. Both of us cried. In France, we don't go freely onto the streets. My kids only go out to school and come home. We're immigrating to Israel because we want our children to have lives."