The early French connection to Israel

One often hears of the Golden Age of Franco-Israeli relations in the period 1953 to 1965, during which France supplied nuclear know-how and modern weapons to Israel. However, there is far less mention in the historiography of an earlier period when the bonds of this relationship were originally forged. This goes back to the postwar era when the illegal immigration campaign was in full swing and French ports provided an outlet to the Mediterranean for thousands of Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) determined to reach the shores of Palestine.

Jews could not simply walk out of German or Austrian DP camps and tak a train to Marseilles to board one of the liners serving the Middle Eastern ports. On the contrary, it was more probable that they left their camps in secret led by members of the Mossad VAliyah Bet (Institute for ‘Parallel Immigration’). This was a secret body set up

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