Thursday, September 10, 2015

France: Trying to woo Its Jews back home from Israel amid fears of future economic lag

The Algemeiner reports:

The French government is trying to attract talented French Jews in Israel back to France, amid fears that the European country is being striped of future business leaders and investors, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption revealed that 6,961 French Jews moved to Israel in 2014, which is more than double the number from the previous year. More than 36% of those emigrants hold college degrees and 17% are in engineering.

The number of Jews leaving France is depriving that country of young talent, as it continues to struggle with poor growth in its economy and unemployment rates in the double digits,  according to The Wall Street Journal.

French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron attended the DLD tech conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, and a large part of his visit to Israel is focused on encouraging Jewish investors and innovators to return to France. He met with parents of high-school students and tried courting Israeli investors, by boasting about government measures his ministry is in the process of implementing, such as tax incentives and streamlined labor tribunals.

“A lot of these people have energy, vitality. They want to create jobs, startups, and innovate here,” Macron told The Wall Street Journal. “They can innovate as well in France.”  [...]

More and more French Jews are relocating to Israel to escape the rise in antisemitic sentiment in France, but also to distance themselves from the inflexibility in France’s education and labor systems, according to the publication. [...]

Antisemitic violence in France has left French Jews feeling alienated, and French entrepreneurs who moved to Israel say their new home offers them a welcoming environment they cannot find in France, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“I was asked to choose: ’Are you Jewish or French?’” said Mickael Bensadoun, who relocated from France to Israel 15 years ago. He co-founded the Tel Aviv nonprofit Gvahim, which helps immigrants professionally integrate in Israel, and 20% of those involved in the company’s startup accelerator are French.

Jeremie Brabet-Adonajlo, co-founder of the startup Pzartech, added that being Jewish in France “is like being part of a soccer team, and no one wants to pass you the ball.”  Read more.

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