This week, more than 80 French Jews made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) aboard the latest Fellowship Freedom Flights. The Jerusalem Post's Jack Brook tells of the distress these olim (immigrants) left behind and what their future holds:
Francis Ben-Hanni cried as he put his hands on the Western Wall, after finally living up to the promise he had made years earlier to one day make aliya.
He prayed for his wife, Rivka, who could now live as a religious Jew without feeling threatened the way she had living in Massy, a suburb of Paris.
He thought of his daughters, Liat, 10, and Sarit, six, who have suffered from recurring nightmares since the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which killed 130 people.
And he looked down at his nine-year-old son, Avram, telling him to touch the wall and ask God for whatever he wanted. In Israel, Avram would no longer have to wear a baseball cap over his kippa on the way to school each day.
The Ben-Hannis are among the 81 newly arrived French immigrants who touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday in pursuit of a better life. Many, like the Ben-Hannis, came seeking to raise their children in greater security, as well as to leave an environment they felt was becoming increasingly hostile to Jews.
The flight marked the first of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Freedom Flights from France this summer. In the next two months, over 400 more French Jews are to make aliya through the IFCJ’s program.