Just as Joseph and Mary had no where to lay their head as their baby was due, so too according to UCI, Dr. Michael Bensaadon, director of the "Klita" umbrella organisation for NGOs working to help French Jews immigrate to Israel.
Dr Mensaadon is calling on the government of Israel to prepare for a massive wave of Aliyah from France following the Paris attacks.
This upcoming escalation in Aliyah can be predictede claims Dr Mensaadon, from the rise in immigration seen until now and the deteriorating situation in France, as well as from telling opinion polls among French Jewry. No less than 7,000 French immigrants arrived in 2014, and "this wave will yet strengthen" he says, noting on the number of requests to make aliyah being received.
There are around half a million Jews in France now, notes Dr Bensaadon. He explained that another million or so who are not Jewish according to Jewish law are extended the right to make Aliyah given the presence of a Jewish grandparent or spouse, but this group is not figured into the poll and may not consider leaving France at all.
Michael Bensaadon stated: "The Jewish community in France is very Zionist, but it wants a successful absorption in terms of education and employment, and those who want more olim need to make sure there is quality absorption."
All this is counter-productive to the Arab Palestinian cause with more Jewish immigration, as Jews returning to Isarel (Aliyah), simply further populates the Jewish State requiring more settlements and inevitably increasing their military, scientific, business and technology arenas.
Not the first
This is not the first Aliyah to which I have some custom. In 2005 on a Bridges for Peace tour to the Ukraine, I was introduced to Aliyah of Ukrainian Jews. We encountered local Christians helping Jewish people at the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum.
They impressed upon us, Jesus was ministering amongst the poor for much of his time on earth. We witnessed care for the very elderly, the poor, the infirm, the destitute and the struggling family poor.
Bridges for Peace had linked in with two existing local Christian groups in the Ukraine who are helping the Jewish community by providing monthly food parcels, a van, food distribution centres and administration assistance. This is a joint effort. Administrative assistance involves Aliyah assistance in addition to humanitarian aid to the elderly who are not prepared to resettle in Israel.
These workers help potential 'olim' by searching for records, helping with passport applications, travel transfer assistances and the like, in order that these marginalised Jews might be helped, should they wish, to reach Israel before they die. These Christian groups are motivated by their understanding of the biblical prophecies relative to the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland in the "latter days" of human history.
Also by a profound awareness that Christian help was in short supply seventy-five years ago, the last time that Jews desperately needed Christian friends. These younger Christians weren't old enough (many have been born long after WWII) to help then but they feel a moral responsibility to bring practical aid now. Christian help is needed when the government of Israel, the Jewish Agency and various other Jewish groups are so active in both Aliyah and humanitarian aid resources are stretched to the limit.
With anti-Semitism again on the increase in Europe (there have been numerous articles on this in recent years), and it is alive and well in most countries. Christians have an acute sense of responsibility to the past and in their eyes this is one way to retrieve a terrible blight upon mankind's inhumanity to fellow man.
The Jewish background in the Ukraine
Krakow in Poland is historically important to Jewish history in the Ukraine. Pogroms against the Jews preceded the Crusades and continued into the Middle Ages in both eastern and western Europe. In the early 1200's Jews were banished from England and they moved to mainland Europe.
The western European powers also distrusted the Jews and all were pleased when in 1333 "King Kashimicrz the Great" of Krakow welcomed the Jews. He saw long-term economic benefits to his kingdom. Here the Jewish Hasidic movement gained prominence (with their well-known attire based on the style of the Polish gentry).
The Hasidim had rules for every aspect of life, with classic traditions and insights of famous Rabbis. Our tour group came to appreciate these traditions as we listened to the stories of our Israeli guide who regaled us with many tales of a Rabbi giving advice on any number of questions pertaining to the daily round of work, love and life in the time of the 'shtetls'.
Between 1772 and the end of WWI 1918 Poland had been eliminated as a political entity and the land divided between Russian, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jews were forced to live in the area known as the "Pale of Settlement." From1834-1917 Jews were only permitted to live in this center of Europe in former Polish lands and certain parts of the east.
As their numbers and influence increased, local pressures forced thousands of Jews to move eastward. The Ukraine became inundated with Jews. The movie "Fiddler on the Roof" recreates what it was like to be a Jew in the Pale and in Ukraine in the 19th century. Kings moved Jews by decree from one location to another without recourse or compensation.
The policy of anti-Semitism by Nazi Germany was received with welcome arms in the Ukraine and many 'Christian' Ukrainians happily volunteered to do the nastiest work. At the end of WWII only 40,000 Jewish people were left in the Ukraine from a population of around 1.5 million Jews. Of those remaining after WWII, many went to America, some to Israel but most of the poorest of the poor stayed and there was little love for these Jewish people.
We met two Pastors, Stanislaw and Roman Gawel, from Poland who bring humanitarian aid to various Ukrainian rural areas. We joined their teams in the cities of Kalush, 100,000 population, and Ivano Frankovsk 300,000, in NW Ukraine, two hours south of Lviv (where we stayed for three nights).
They run a civic association not unlike a public benevolent institution in Australia. Likewise we met Victor and Leva (husband and wife) who head up the Ezra Foundation from Kiev, a similar body. Organisations such as "Bridges for Peace," based in Jerusalem, who raise funds internationally to bring help to the Jewish people through the workers in these local agencies.
We were then introduced to several "Fisherman" - these are men and women whose mission is to seek out Jewish people in their humanitarian cause and assist in the research work for them should they wish to migrate to Israel. So many documents are missing in most cases. Money to fly them to Israel needs to be raised. There are some 35 Fishermen across the Ukraine.
Those who were interviewed spoke of how the Lord led them to this calling. All are committed Christians. All have a passion for the prophetic word. All are excited when another Jewish person or family responds in the affirmative.
Now it is to France that such endeavours will be drawn. Indeed a Christmas story.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html