It always surprises me that all the Jews didn’t run away from Germany before the Holocaust began. I don’t mean when it was too late and they couldn’t, but when the antisemitism was already starting to be overt and unavoidable.
I know that Aliyah from France is up, but we’re talking about a few thousand people a year out of half a million – and this is when at least 40% of all racist crimes in France have been against Jews.
There’s no denying that there’s something naively optimistic about us Jews. We always think the situation will get better, but sometimes the writing is on the wall, like it is in France.
I’m sure there are French Jews who are looking at the massive support rally and think that France is finally at a turning point, and it will now begin to truly fight the Islamic terrorism in its midst, and once again Paris will be safe(r) for Jews.
Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s too late.
Picking up and leaving isn’t easy. The well-off French Jews probably all have homes in Netanya and Jerusalem already, but it’s the middle-class that has a problem.
Israel needs to make a special effort to bring them all over to Israel successfully. We must make sure they have jobs, homes, and not face a drastic drop in their lifestyle, just because they are making Aliyah (basically against their will).
The Russian and Ethiopian aliyahs had their unique challenges and Israel rose to meet them.
Massive French Aliyah will have its own unique challenges too, and the country must begin preparing for it, as well as convincing our French brethren that it is time to come home. 10,000 French Jews should not be the goal. Half a million French Jews should be our goal.
I don’t know much French, but just for you guys I’ll do my part just to make sure you all feel just a little more comfortable: Bienvenue à la maison.
I hope I wrote that right, but if I didn’t, try this on for size:
ברוכים הבאים הביתה.