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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘France’

French Jews Set to Mark Record Year for Aliya

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Aliya from France is expected to hit record highs this year as Jews around the country continue to face rampant anti-Semitism. According to statistics released Monday by the Jewish Agency, 1,407 French Jews moved to Israel during the first quarter of 2014, up from just 353 during the same period last year. At current rates, more than 5,000 French Jews could make Aliya by the end of the year, the highest number since Israel declared independence in 1948. According to the European Jewish Press, more than 1000 people have enrolled in Bac Bleu Blanc, an organization that promotes “opportunities for life in Israel” for high school graduates. And thousands of people attended an aliyah fair in Paris last month, where dozens of representatives of Israeli housing projects, businesses and corporations, government agencies, and schools answered questions about immigration to Israel. Jewish life in France has become increasingly difficult in recent years as civil authorities have become increasingly hostile to Israel and have allowed Muslim anti-Semitism to spiral out of control. Anti-Jewish are considered acceptable in many sectors of “polite” French society, and anti-Israel sentiment is widespread, particularly in the media (in one outrageous example, a French television journalist compared the murder of Jewish children in Toulouse to IDF defensive actions against would-be Palestinian terrorists. As a result, anti-Jewish violence in France has skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2013, the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ), the Jewish community’s security organization, recorded more than 7,700 anti-Semitic incidents, or more than one per day. A partial list of those incidents includes

  • January 21, 2006 – Paris 12th arrondissement : 17 year old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped by a group called the Gang of Barbarians and tortured for three weeks. He eventually died of his wounds.
  • January 22, 2012 – Montreuil (a tough Paris suburb): A 16-year-old Jewish girl was attacked coming out of the Metro after individuals noticed she was carrying documents marked with Hebrew letters. She received blows to the face, her clothing was slashed with a knife while the aggressors proffered anti-Semitic insults. The victim was left in a state of shock.
  • February 16, 2012 – Paris 19th arrondissement (a relatively poor Paris district inhabited by both Jews and Arabs): A young man was mugged, kicked and punched in the head by four males, who stole his wallet and coat claiming “This is what the Israelis do to the Palestinians.”
  • March 8, 2012 – Montreuil: A minor was attacked by three teenagers, who said they “didn’t like” his kippa and that they did not like Jews. One attacker squirted tear gas in the victim’s face.
  • March 26, 2012 – Paris 13th arrondissement: An 11-year-old wearing tzitzit is hit in the face and called a “dirty Jew” a few meters from the entrance to his school.
  • April 30, 2012 – Marseille: A young Jew was attacked by a group of individuals saying, “We are for Palestine and we don’t like dirty Jews. We’re going to kill you all.” The victim sustained a blow to the head and fell to the sidewalk, where the attackers kicked him repeatedly before stealing the Star of David chain around his neck. He suffered neck wounds, an internal hemorrhage and needed stitches near his eye.

Significantly, Jewish and civil authorities in Paris agree that the actual number of attacks is significantly higher than the official numbers, as a healthy majority of attacks go unreported. The affect of the prevailing winds in France are readily apparent. During a visit to Paris last August, local Jews repeatedly warned this reporter not to wear a kippa away the Rue de Rosier, home to several yeshivot and kosher restaurants. To Parisian Jews, it is an accepted fact that “looking too Jewish” is to invite danger on the Metro, or at other sites around the city.

Rising Anti-Semitism Driving Jews to Israel

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The majority of those who moved to Israel last year came from areas in the former Soviet Union, mostly Ukraine and Russia, according to figures released Tuesday from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Immigration rose by just two percent, with the arrival of 16,884 new immigrants (olim) — but the lion’s share were from eastern Europe. Of those who were not from the FSU, 17 percent came from France, 13 percent arrived from the United States and eight percent flew in from Ethiopia. 

What a difference a year can make.

This year’s figures are likely to show an increase, given the brewing attempt by Russia to re-swallow Ukraine, and the rapidly rising anti-Semitism in France.

The Jewish Agency released a statement that by the end of March 854 French Jews arrived in Israel – a 312 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Cantor also is warning that Jews are being targeted nearly daily in anti-Semitic incidents. He adds that increasing numbers of Jews are contemplating aliyah as an option – and that most are looking for a way out of Europe.

In Ukraine, the Jewish mayor of Kharkov was shot in the back and critically wounded by unidentified would-be assassins earlier this week. Israeli doctors were sent to the eastern Ukrainian city to attend to Mayor Gennady Kernes; upon seeing the extent of his wounds, it was decided to airlift him to Israel for advanced medical treatment.

 

A third of those polled by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013 said they avoided wearing religious-appearing clothing and/or symbols due to fears of being identified as Jews. In addition, 23 percent stayed away from Jewish events and venues.

In 2013, Europeans formed the majority of immigrants – 64 percent – followed by those from the Americas and Oceania (21 percent), Africa (9 percent) and Asia (6 percent), according to the CBS report. Immigrants from the Americas – more females than males – settled primarily in the central region, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Aliyah Up by 14 Percent in First Three Months of 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Aliyah to Israel increased by 14 percent from January to the end of March, with the most impressive numbers coming from Russia and France, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Russia led the aliyah number list with 899 new immigrants, followed by France with 802.

One veteran French immigrant told The Jewish Press that despite the flight to Israel from France, plagued by violent anti-Semitism, there is a far greater exodus of Jews to the United States and Canada.

The third largest source of new immigrants so far this year is the United States, from where 203 arrived, and another 23 came from Canada.

The total number of new immigrants for the first three months of this year is 3,623.

National Front Mayor Evicts Dreyfus-Inspired Anti-Racism Group

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

A French mayor from the far-right National Front party evicted from city-owned offices an anti-racism group inspired by the Dreyfus trial.

Steeve Briois, who was elected last month to run the town of Henin-Beaumont, ordered the Human Rights League, or LDH, to clear out of its workspace last week, LDH President Pierre Tartakowsky told JTA.

The LDH, which was established in 1898 to protest the wrongful and racially motivated conviction for espionage of the French Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus, for years had occupied office space provided free to it and other civil society groups by the municipality, Tartakowsky said.

“We have made no secret of our opposition to racism, anti-Semitism, the extreme right and National Front itself,” he said. “The party knows that targeting us as a human rights group is a symbol; they want to make people afraid.”

In a statement sent Tuesday, Briois wrote, “Municipalities are not allowed to fund organizations that are politicized and partisan.”

The municipality had provided $414 in funding to LDH per year, according to Le Figaro.

National Front, whose honorary president, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews and other minorities, has mayors in 11 municipalities following its showing in the March 30 local elections.

Le Pen Recruits Pigs to Fight Islam

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said last Friday that she would stop schools from offering pork-free alternatives to Muslim students in the 11 towns where her party has won local elections. She said this was consistent with France’s “secular values,” or, as she put it, to “save secularism.”

I have a feeling secularism is as threatened in France as Christmas is in the U.S. Meaning, on both sides of the Atlantic these are made up issues designed to stir up political strife where none actually exists.

“We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,” Le Pen declared on French radio. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”

It’s true that France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe – roughly 5 million. There are also an estimated half a million Jews there.

But I suspect that those Jewish families who would not serve pork to their children already send them to private Jewish schools. This is, then, not an antisemitic but an anti-Muslim move. For sure, today’s French people don’t feel overwhelmed by a Jewish invasion, while a walk through some parts of Paris would definitely bring to mind the year 699, when the Arab hordes came rushing out of the peninsula to fill up the vacuum left by the dead Roman Empire.

So the National Front is taking advantage of the French resentment of this Asiatic occupation army in their midst, with varying results. Le Pen did not get elected president with her anti-Muslim politics, but doubled its wins in municipal elections.

On occasion, the National Front seems to be having fun with their xenophobic politics: in the town of Hayanges, FN mayor Fabien Engelmann has proposed a Pork Fest, celebrating the many attributes of pigs. And, of course, he insists the festival is not meant to offend Muslims.

Oink.

Thousands Participate in French Aliyah Fair

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

PARIS – Thousands of Jews from throughout France participated in an Aliyah information fair held in central Paris earlier today (March 30) and organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the World Zionist Organization. Participants met with representatives of dozens of Israeli organizations and institutions, including government ministries and local authorities, and received information on opportunities for life in Israel, Aliyah programs for young people, educational programs for teenagers, employment counseling, and more.

According to Jewish Agency figures, Aliyah from France has risen sharply since the start of the year: 854 new olim (immigrants) from France arrived in Israel during the months of January and February, compared to 274 during the comparable period in 2013. This threefold (312%) increase is due in part to increased efforts by The Jewish Agency to strengthen the French Jewish community’s relationship to Israel through educational programs, information sessions, and Aliyah fairs, as well as to the economic situation in France and communal insecurity due to anti-Semitism. 2014 is thus set to continue the significant upward trend in French Aliyah, which saw the arrival of 3,280 new olim in 2013, a 70% increase compared to the 1,917 olim who arrived in 2012.

In addition to the increase in Aliyah from France, The Jewish Agency has seen a significant rise in the number of Jewish young people interested in participating in Israel experience programs. Some 1,000 Jewish high school students recently participated in The Jewish Agency’s Bac Bleu Blanc (“High School Seniors in Blue and White”) program, which enables students at Jewish schools to explore opportunities for life in Israel following their graduation from high school. Additionally, 1,000 French Jewish young people are currently participating in Masa Israel Journey, a partnership between the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency that enables young Jews to experience life in Israel, compared to 500 just two years ago. Some 70% of French Masa participants make Aliyah upon completing the program.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency unveiled a new government plan to encourage Aliyah from France. The plan includes boosting the number of Jewish Agency shlichim (emissaries) in France, increasing marketing efforts, developing new immigrant absorption programs, and establishing a special committee headed by the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office to remove obstacles to French Aliyah. The plan also sets clear benchmarks for increasing the number of olim, seeking to double their numbers in the coming years. This groundbreaking plan is the result of intensive cooperation between the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency, along with the World Zionist Organization, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and Keren Hayesod-UIA, all of which are working together for the first time in order to strengthen French Aliyah. The plan was developed in consultation and cooperation with French Jewish organizations, both in France and in Israel.

French Jewish Candidate Reveals Threats

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A Jewish politician in Marseille said he and his family received death threats amid a string of anti-Semitic incidents coinciding with municipal elections in France.

Hagay Sobol, a City Council candidate on the Socialist Party list in the final round of elections to be held Sunday, revealed on his Facebook page earlier this week that he had received the threats from an unknown person claiming to be a centrist political activist calling himself “Simon Hanavi.” Sobol said the man threatened to harm him and his family.

One of the threats appeared on Sobol’s Facebook page and read, “When this election is over, God will take care of traitor like you,” according to the news site alyaexpress-news.com. Sobol also said he received threats texted to his phone and has filed a police complaint.

He added that the perpetrator said he was a member of the UMP centrist party, “but there are strong doubts this is true,” Sobol wrote, explaining that the language and style used were typical of the extreme right.

France’s far-right National Front, whose founder and honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen has a history of anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denials, has made unprecedented gains in the first round of elections and is now leading in eight cities and towns.

The party won outright in one northern town and made it to the second round in 200 municipalities — gains that have prompted the Union of Jewish French Students to call on voters to mobilize against the National Front Party. Turnout in the first round was 60 percent, which is considered low.

The union also called on candidates who came in third in the eight cities where the  National Front is leading to withdraw from the race in favor of the candidates who finished second to help defeat the National Front in the second round of polling. On Tuesday, a Socialist candidate in Perpignan, Jacques Cresta, withdrew from the race to improve the chances of his UMP rival against the National Front.

Separately, the northern Toulouse suburb of Agen saw dozens of buildings covered with racist graffiti slogans, including “Jews and Arabs out, all of you to the oven.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/french-jewish-candidate-reveals-threats/2014/03/26/

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