Amy and George Camara and two of their four children arriving in Israel, Nov. 2, 2016. (JTA/ Courtesy of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews)
The Camaras, relieved to leave their war-torn African country, settled in the northern French city of Lille in 2012. Because they fit no one’s Jewish stereotype, they said they were able to live as Jews without fear — despite, in recent years, the rise in attacks on French Jews from a small segment of Muslim extremists.
But the Camaras soon discovered that belonging to both the African and Jewish minorities also came with its own set of challenges, said Amy, the 53-year-old daughter of an Ivorian father and a French Jewish Holocaust survivor. The difficulties prompted the family to again pack their suitcases and leave France — for Israel, the only country where this unique Jewish family says it can live comfortably according to their identity.
For the Camaras, whom Amy describes as “proudly Jewish but not too observant,” life in France wasn’t “truly comfortable,” she said.
Precisely because no one from their immediate environment thought they might be Jewish, “people, even friends, would say the most awful lies about Israel and Jews in our presence,” Amy said.
“There was no single incident that made us decide to leave, it’s more of a cumulative effect,” she said.
On Wednesday, the Camaras and their kids — aged 25, 22 and twins who are 15 — landed at Ben Gurion Airport aboard a flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.