French Youth Are at Home in Israel
Yemin Orde Youth Village is home to more than 100 French youth who moved to Israel in recent years seeking safety from the rising level of anti-Semitism and violence that is spreading in their country. Most of the families of these Jewish youth are of Moroccan, Algerian or Tunisian descent and had lived in the French cities of Paris, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Nice and Toulouse.
In the past few years in France, a climate of anti-Semitism has sparked a mass movement of French Jews to Israel. According to a recent report, for the first time since the founding of the State of Israel, France topped the list of countries from which immigrants moved in 2014 – about 7,000 people, making the trip. It was the largest single-year movement of French Jews to Israel since the founding of the state. Double 2013’s number.
In 2015, an estimated 10,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel.
The teens coming from France face numerous challenges since moving to Israel: some are from financially-challenged single parent households, and others have language, economic and educational difficulties. Some of the children arrived in Israel without their families. For the most part, these young immigrants are fearful, displaced and under-educated, with many lacking basic Hebrew language skills.
Yemin Orde is well-known throughout Israel in helping immigrant children adjust to a new life in their new home. The Village’s dedicated staff and educators, plus its successful educational methodology, the Village Way, ensure that fragile youth receive the support and life skills they need to adapt to their environment.
Last year, Yemin Orde staff worked hard to ease the transition for the first group of French youth at the Village. The Village provided an intensive Hebrew program and extra academic support when needed. Throughout the year, the children participated in extracurricular activities such as the choir, art and sports programs.
Today, the Village’s French-speaking youth host a “French Day” which includes exhibits about important French and North African Jews, a play about aliyah from France and presentations of French food. Yemin Orde will continue to provide assistance to French families who require additional support. The Village will also continue to help teens who struggle with integration into Israeli society and culture.