Israel Prize winner heads campaign inviting French Jews to Israel

Miriam Peretz asks French Jews to help their compatriots reconnect to their roots in an online drive spearheaded by a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel Prize winner Miriam Peretz is headlining an online campaign to bring 30,000 French Jews to Israel this year, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

Peretz is an educator and the mother of two soldiers killed years apart fighting Palestinian terrorists. She is known around the country for preaching lovingly about Zionism, as well as about living with loss. She has gone to Jewish communities abroad with the same message for years, and received the prestigious Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2018 for her work.

The video clip was sent to 70,000 French immigrants to ask them to pass on the names and details of friends and acquaintances still living in France so that they can be encouraged to see Israel.

In the clip, Peretz says emotionally, “Each one of us has a responsibility towards the entire Jewish people. We ask that you just give us the name of someone you know in France and we’ll get in touch with him. Who knows how many brothers we could bring closer to their heritage.”

She is being joined by prominent members of the immigrant community, as well as Rabbi Yehuda Ben Yishai, who is also a bereaved parent. He and his wife are raising three grandchildren who survived an infamous 2011 terrorist attack that took the lives of their parents and three siblings, including an infant who was decapitated – the Fogel family of Itamar.

The group that is spearheading the drive is The Israel Experience, a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency.

“We see the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in general and France in particular, alongside the detachment of many Jews from their identity,” said CEO Amos Hermon. “We hope that this campaign will enable more Jews to get to know Israel though their feet and reconnect to their identity.”

The Israel Experience leads dozens of groups to Israel each year in programs that try to teach what Israel means to each one in its own way so that they leave with a deeper connection to the Jewish homeland “and nurtur [sic] Jewish continuity in their communities back home,” according to their mission statement.

On February 16, dozens of volunteers will contact the people whose names are received as a result of the campaign.