• אילנה ויונתן כהן

    אילנה ויונתן כהן

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A Honeymoon in Israel

Ilana and Yonatan Cohen have been married for a month – and though they are originally from the City of Light, the City of Love, Paris, they’ve chosen Israel as their honeymoon destination, and also as their home. Ilana is learning Hebrew as part of a Masa program, while Yonatan is studying Heberw at the Ulpan Etzion Absorption Center in Jerusalem. In their eyes, life in Israel is a gift – and they’ve decided to build their home here.

I meet Yonatan and Ilana Cohen, in their twenties, in Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, several days after they first arrived here. They’re busy setting up their apartment, handymen arriving every hour or so. That’s when Ilana tells me that they’ve only been married for a month or so – and that their decision to make Aliyah is a honeymoon of sorts.

Originally from Paris, Ilana spent most of her life in the 12th arrondissement, raised by Algerian Jewish immigrants. She studied in a French school, and completed a degree in business management at a Jewish academy there.

“I want our children to grow up in Israel, because it is hard to raise them in Paris these days,” she says. “It’s a serious mitzvah to live here and raise children here, and all my life I wanted to live here with my husband and to build a home here.”

“We met a few months ago,” Yonatan reminisces. “It was really a miracle, we fell in love right away, when we met at a Jewish party in Paris.” The couple married a month ago in Israel; she works in business, while he works as an optician. “We hope it will be a smooth, successful Aliyah experience,” Ilana says.

“It already is successful,” Yonatan interjects.

Ilana’s entire family lives in Paris: her retired parents and her three sisters. She is the youngest of four, and her parents hope to come to Israel as well, to be with her.

Their Aliyah process was typical, in ways. Ilana came through Masa, after having participated in Tagilt-Birthright; Yonatan made Aliyah through Ulpan Etzion, leaving behind his brother Chaim and parents in Marseilles.

“We know it’s hard here,” Yonatan tells me. “But we have here many positive advantages here, than in Paris. Jewish education for children, kosher food, better weather, security for our communities. This was the land given to our forefathers,” he says passionately. “Every corner of this land has a biblical verse attached to it.” He tells me about his relatives who live in a moshav near Emek Ayalon, close to that very place where David once turned his slingshot onto Goliath. “We are a privileged generation to be able to live here,” he says. “This is our Land, we have no other.”

Yonatan studies in the evenings at Mechon Meir in Jerusalem, and in his eyes, his Aliyah is only part of a greater exodus of Jews from France.

“My parents are making Aliyah after Passover,” Yonatan says. “And my brother is still in Marseille. I loved Marseille, we didn’t leave it because we felt threatened but rather because we wanted to make Aliyah to Israel.” He shows me the brand-new mezuzah he is to put up in his home. “It’s the realization of a life-long dream,’ he says.

 

21 Jan 2015 / 1 Shevat 5775 0
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נתן רועי

נתן רועי נולד ביפו להורים שעלו ב"עליית גומולקה"; בעל השכלה וניסיון של למעלה משלושים וחמש שנות כתיבה תחקיר ועריכה עיתונאית הן בעיתונות הכתובה, בטלוויזיה הישראלית וברדיו (גל"צ); פרסם בישראל 18 ספרים בתחומי צבא ובטחון והחברה הישראלית; מרצה בנושאי תקשורת והיסטוריה הן ברמה אקדמית והן בפני קהל;מחבר תכניות חינוכיות הן בתחום ידיעת ארץ ישראל והן בתחום ההיסטוריה של ישראל; נמנה על צוות ההקמה של "תגלית" ומחבר תכנית היסוד של "תגלית" ב 1995; בעל שלושה תארים : משפטן Llb , היסטוריה ופילוסופיה,תואר ראשון ותואר שני Summa cum Laude; זכה בפרס של תנועת "סובלנות" (1987 ) בראשות נשיא המדינה אפרים קציר ומיכל זמורה-כהן על מאבקו העיתונאי למען חסידי אומות העולם בישראל ומתן מעמד מיוחד להם ולבני משפחותיהם במוסדות המדינה; זכה בפרס של מכון שכטר ( JTS ) בירושלים על הישגיו בלימודי התואר השני בהיסטוריה ופילוסופיה ובמלגה מטעם המכון בסיום לימודיו. נשוי באושר ואב לחמישה ילדים.