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The Absorption Ministry intends to declare Haifa a preferred city for absorbing new immigrants from France, under a new program that will include an expanded basket of absorption benefits and the creation of a permanent delegation from the municipality in Paris.

Representatives from Haifa, Ashdod, Netanya, Jerusalem and other cities will take part in a fair in Paris later this month to sell themselves to potential immigrants from France.

"The fair will be a place where representatives of various cities, representatives of higher education in Israel and company representatives can meet with French Jews in an effort to interest them in coming to Israel as tourists and settling here later on," said Euline Goldberg, the Haifa municipality official responsible for encouraging immigration from France.

The young middle class

Goldberg said the city wants to encourage new immigrants from France to settle in Haifa because they tend to be young, middle-class individuals who can establish businesses that create jobs. However, she added, Haifa is competing for French-speaking immigrants with Ashdod, Netanya and Jerusalem, all of which have been popular with Francophones in the past.

"The Association for Developing Haifa Tourism created a film showing the sea, the mountains and the neighborhoods of Haifa," she continued.

"We'll give them figures on the education system and business initiatives; we'll offer employment solutions and present projects that the city is currently working on, such as turning the lower part of the city into a students' village," she said.