TEL AVIV, Israel – Three hundred Jewish immigrants landed at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport Monday. Both Jewish and Christian leaders gave them a joyous welcome, celebrating their "aliyah" during Israel's 70th anniversary year, helping fulfill Bible prophecy.
In Hebrew, it's called aliyah – or going up to the Land of Israel. These new immigrants are joining millions of other Israelis who've made aliyah in the 70 years since Israel became a modern nation.
New immigrants from France, the former Soviet Union and South America at Ben Gurion International Airport, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Both outgoing Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharanksy and the new chairman, Isaac Herzog, were on hand to greet them.
Nearly 200 of these brand new soon-to-be Israelis are from France, and many of them are children. France is just one of a number of countries in Europe and throughout the globe where the danger to Jews is growing.
"It's very concerning what's happening in western Europe [and] also in other parts of the world where you see anti-Semitism raising its ugly head, whether it's in the form of anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiments, which are basically just masking anti-Semitism," Angels of Zion Director Danielle Mor told CBN News.
Mor says the Jewish Agency has kept a promise since Israel's rebirth as a modern nation 70 years ago.
"Never again! Never again will there be a Jewish person who is in danger, who is full of hope, who wants to come to Israel and the doors are closed," she said.
One new arrival, a pianist from France named Thierry Haddad, said radical Muslim anti-Jewish violence factored into his move.
"It's more and more true," he said. "Also, the politics [politicians] try to protect, but it's difficult."
Sarah Rachel Levy came alone from Paris. She told CBN News anti-Semitism didn't drive her out. It was more of a calling.
"I would be with my people and my God on my land. It was an obligation for me. If I didn't do that it's like I am dead. I don't know how to say it."
In addition to the arrivals from France, other immigrants came from the former Soviet Union and South America.
Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Sharansky, a world-renowned human rights activist and former Russian dissident, made aliyah when he was released from the Soviet Union in 1978. He told the gathering, "Despite all the challenges of today in Israel and despite all the slander against it, Jews continue to make aliyah, and the number of immigrants is rising from year to year."
Christian leaders also played a role in the welcome home ceremony. They've been helping Jewish immigrants get to Israel for decades. Why?
Tom Hess, director of the All Nations Convocation in Jerusalem, says the 700 references to aliyah in the Bible make it clear it's something close to God's heart.
"It says in scripture that God will bring His people back from the north, south, east and west. Most of the people have come from the north and the south and the east. But 90 percent of the people outside of Israel today are in the west. So we know there's going to be a massive aliyah, not only continuing from the north, but from the west. God will bring back millions and millions of Jews," Hess said.