France is bleeding Jews. The onslaught of radical Islamic terror combined with growing anti-Semitism has finally persuaded the country’s most loyal immigrants that it’s time to leave.
One of Britain’s most influential Jewish journalists, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, said on Friday, “Every single French Jew I know has either left or is actively working out how to leave.” Pollard’s comment came shortly after French police had ordered shops along Rue de Rosiers in the famous La Marais Jewish neighborhood to close in central Paris. The measure was taken as a precaution following the terror attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery that left four people dead and others injured.
More than 100,000 French Jews have left the country since 2013, according to sources quoted by The Daily Mail. Pollard said in a tweet that the attack on Hyper Cacher was no “fluke.” He wrote in a series of posts on the Twitter social networking site, “So, it’s a fluke that the latest target is a kosher grocer, is it?
“What’s going on in France – outrages that have been getting worse for years – put our antisemitism (sic) problems in perspective,” he wrote.
The Jewish Agency for Israel, meanwhile, has told its staff to prepare for a wave of French aliyah. Chairman of the Executive of the Agency, Natan Sharansky accompanied Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the unity rally in Paris on Sunday. “The Jewish Agency embraces the French Jewish community at this difficult time and is extending its full support by helping provide for the physical security of Jewish communities across France, increasing our assistance to any individual who wishes to immigrate to Israel, and working to ease immigrants’ integration into the Israeli workforce and Israeli society,” he said.
There were 7,000 new immigrants from France in 2014, more than double the 3,400 who arrived in 2013 and triple the 1,900 who came in 2012, Sharansky noted. The French Jewish community is the third largest in the world after Israel and the United States, with some 500,000 Jews; but more than one percent of the entire community immigrated to Israel last year.
Even before last week’s reign of terror, Jewish Agency officials had predicted that the increase in French aliyah would continue, and that the number of immigrants from France could reach up to 10,000 in 2015. In the past year, at least 50,000 French Jews inquired about immigrating to Israel, according to Sharansky. The Jewish Agency is currently holding two information seminars daily in France, he added. They are leaving, he said, and “they want to live in a Jewish state.”
The Fund for Emergency Assistance to Jewish Communities, established following the 2012 attack on the Jewish elementary school in Toulouse, has provided Jewish communal institutions in France and elsewhere with the means to install and reinforce security measures where they are needed most, in order to also enable Jewish communal life to continue uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has already begun to roll out the red carpet.
At a rally at Jerusalem City Hall to show solidarity with the French people and the French Jewish community on Sunday, Barkat said, “Brothers and sisters – the gates of Jerusalem are open to you. Zion and the entire Jewish world stands beside you. Nous sommes tous Juifs de France, we are all Charlie, we are all Jews of France.”
The Jerusalem Municipality, under the directive of Mayor Barkat, will open a special situation room for new immigrants from France in order to assist them in their move to Jerusalem. At the entrance to City Hall, there is a special booth for immigrant absorption manned by French-speaking volunteers who will help the immigrants with all of their absorption needs.
Hana Levi Julian