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Some 2,500 new immigrants from North America and France will come to Israel on eight special El Al flights this summer, Haaretz has learned.

Six of the flights will take off from New York and Toronto between July and September, and two more will arrive from Paris and Marseilles in July. The flights will be jointly sponsored by the Jewish Agency, the French organization Ami and the North American group Nefesh B'Nefesh.

Last year, some 2,700 new immigrants and another 300 returning Israelis arrived from North America. Immigration from North America, which has been on the upswing for the past three years, is expected to reach 3,500 people this year, with an equal number arriving from France.

The number of immigrants from France totaled 2,100 in 2003, rose to 2,415 in 2004 and reached 3,000 in 2005. The rise in the number of French Jews moving to Israel is proportionally more significant, since half a million Jews live in France, as opposed to some 6 million Jews in the United States.