Wednesday, February 17, 2016

France: Jews already a minority and will become an even smaller minority

The International Business Times reports:
As the plane touched down in Israel from Paris in the summer of 2014 packed with dozens of French Jews full of hope for their new lives in Israel, a devastating conflict in the Gaza Strip raged. Israeli authorities directed new arrivals on what to do if their plane was attacked by rocket fire from militants in Gaza, and Avi Mayer of the Jewish Agency, a group that works with people who want to move to Israel, asked passengers about their plans for the future and if they were afraid.

“Afraid?” said one Parisian. “No. I left my fear behind in France.”

Thousands of French Jews have left their country to move to Israel, the U.S. or the U.K. in the past few years, as anti-Semitic far-right wing politics have grown stronger and the threat of Islamic extremism has become a daily source of fear in many neighborhoods. In the year following attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris, 9,000 French Jews left the country to move to Israel — compared with 1,900 five years earlier. While scholars and community leaders reported a growing incidence of anti-Semitism, many of them said the only way to prevent prejudice from spreading and to preserve their culture was to stay in France and fight for their rights.

“I am in favor of people staying and affirming their culture ... all the more since it is threatened,” said Isy Cemachovic, president of the Jewish Religious Association in Dijon in eastern France. With an influx of predominantly Muslim refugees from Syria, Cemachovic noted that the Jewish population would shrink in comparison. “We are already a minority, and we will become an even smaller minority,” he said.

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