David Alimi and his family, one of the first recipients of Israeli citizenship from the recent French Aliyah charter flight, went to their new home in Ashkelon -- just as rockets struck.
45-year old Daniel Alimi has just immigrated to Israel from Paris. He was the first immigrant to receive his ID card from The Jewish Agency’s Chairman Natan Sharansky and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, in addition to a representative from the Ministry of Interior.
Daniel is married to Miriam and is the father of four children, and works in electrical and computer engineering, focusing on Internet engineering.
When I asked their family why they decided to make Aliyah, Miriam answered, “It is dangerous and difficult in France...we don’t like France anymore.”
Her husband, Daniel, continued: “We made Aliyah to secure our children’s future.” The whole family came out at the end of the ceremony, accompanied by a volunteer from the “Babayit B’Yachad” program in Asheklon, Yehuda Sabag.
I also asked the family why they are specifically going to Ashkelon.
“In Ashkelon there are wonderful beaches (in French: bon plage)," Miriam explains, smiling. "My mother lives in Ashkelon, and my husband’s family lives in Ashdod. In Ashdod, there are also rockets flying overhead.”
Meanwhile, the volunteer from “B’Bayit B’Yachad” is finding them an apartment to live in near Miriam’s mother.
Shay, their eleven-year-old son, says he has visited Israel several times. “For me, I’ve finally come home,” he says.
Director of “B’Bayit B’Yachad,” in Ashdod-Ashkelon, Dina Shelvy, says, “I salute them. In a time like this they still choose to come to Ashdod and Ashkelon, there are over sixty immigrants following these intentions. We will do everything in order to provide a good, pleasant, and comfortable reception for them, with the help of our loyal volunteers. She tells me of the immigrant family that is on a van taking them to Ashkelon.
And what will the volunteers do once they arrive in Ashkelon, I asked Yehuda Sabag. “We will accompany the immigrants,” he replies, “I will start by helping them open a bank account, then I will escort them to the Ministry of Absorption, where they will receive their absorption benefits for six months. I also help them with registering their children in school, and in Ashkelon’s Ulpan… I will also arrange their driver’s license and start looking for an apartment for them. In short—I want to help them feel at home.”