The rabbinic elite in Algeria saw the establishment of the State of Israel as the fulfillment of the prophecies of redemption. The symbiosis between the Kabbalistic religious connection to the Land of Israel and religious Zionism continued even among Algerian Jews who moved to France, based upon the knowledge of generations of Algerian sages.
The Six Day War (1967) sparked a burst of messianic spirit and unprecedented spiritual enthusiasm among Algerian Jews living in France. Thus began a constant flow of immigration to Israel, as it became a focal point for identification with the Jewish entity and a country whose survival was essential to the survival of the Jewish people. It is estimated that between the Six Day War and the present day, about 25,000 Algerian Jews immigrated to Israel, thus creating a 50,000-strong community who integrated into the general Francophone society in Israel.
The immigrants from Algeria – as well as the Jews of North Africa as a whole – contributed to Israel’s restitution and flourishing in a variety of areas – as pioneers in rural and agricultural settlements; In the kibbutzim, which absorbed graduates of socialist youth movements in from Algeria; as well as in urban areas across the country, in the years after the Six Day War.
This Aliyah also contributed to the field of Jewish culture, arts and humanities, academia and science, the defense forces and the Israeli economy. Prominent among them are rabbis, biblical scholars and nuclear physicists, public figures and educators and activists within the World Zionist Organization who were partners in bringing about the great waves of aliyah to Israel.
An extraordinary contribution to national security is the role of Sharle Atali. In France, his scientific activity was crowned an impressive achievement – he headed the ‘Diamond’ project, the main purpose of which was to establish the first satellite launcher. Thanks to this admirable achievement, French President Charles de Gaulle awarded him the prestigious Legion of Honor badge in 1965, for his important contribution to France’s security. Mr. Atali, in protest of de Gaulle’s embargo policy, immigrated to Israel in 1970. Moshe Arens, IAI’s VP at the time, appointed him responsible for important security projects. Among other activities, he was responsible for the development of Israel’s UAV project [unmanned aircraft] and the drone [tiny unmanned aircraft], for which he received the Ministry of Defense award. His immigration to Israel influenced other French Jewish engineers to move to Israel as well. Atali went to France between 1985 and 1983 on a State mission, to recruit talented Jewish minds and engineers, and these were integrated in senior positions into Israel’s aerospace industry.