Jews are leaving France in record numbers citing fears of Islamic terrorism and rising anti-Semitism, according to a report by the Jewish Agency for Israel, leaving French politicians scrambling to provide assurances for those who choose to remain.
Almost 8,000 Jews left France for Israel in 2015 – a rate far higher than anywhere else in Europe and part of the largest trans-migration of Jews since the formation of Israel in 1948.
Such is the movement of people that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was forced to acknowledge Monday night that French Jewry is in crisis and that France must work with “all its might to protect Jews”.
The numbers show that Mr. Valls might be too late. An official Israeli government report into global anti-Semitism published Sunday shows that France is not alone in fighting a rising tide in anti-Jewish sentiment with more than 40 per cent of European Union citizens hold anti-Semitic views, with “Islamic elements” prominent in its creation.
In France alone in the 12 months following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, nearly 8,000 French Jews have done ‘aliyah’ and left for Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, which handles Jewish immigration to Israel.
The number of French Jews moving to Israel has doubled – and doubled again – in the past five years.
In 2013, less than 3,300 French Jews moved to Israel. Only two years earlier, that number stood at 1,900.
As Breitbart London has reported, France’s Jewish population is estimated at between 500,000 and 600,000 people, the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is facing increasingly difficult times with attacks rising across the country including the Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, the Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, and the kosher supermarket in Paris and the synagogue in Copenhagen last year.
While many cite these atrocities as their reason for leaving, “the French Jewish community has been living with a deep sense of insecurity for quite some time,” says Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency.
A 2013 European Union study of the prevalence of anti-Semitism found that 74 per cent of Jews in France avoid openly identifying themselves as Jewish at least some of the time, and more than a quarter of French Jews always do.
The scale of anti-semitism even prompted some Jews to stop wearing their traditional skullcap in public after an anti-Semitic attack in Marseille, something French President Francois Hollande called “intolerable”.
The French prime minister chose his address to a memorial for assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at City Hall in Paris to speak up for the persecuted minority.
“The Jews are being persecuted again and again, victims of a virulent anti-Semitism that is hidden behind hatred of Israel,” Valls said, adding that anti-Semitism “strikes in the Middle East. It has also hit Europe. And France will put forward its entire strength to protect the Jews of France, who are legitimately connected to the land of Israel as they love their country of France, and always look at France as their homeland.”
Mr Valls said that France and Israel were “two sister nations” whose friendship was “demanding and honest.”
We must “move together along the vision” of Rabin, said Mr Valls, that vision being “a lasting peace in the Middle East, established between two states, Israel and Palestine, with secure and recognized borders. Two states living side by side in security.”
The comments mark the second time this month that Mr Valls has stressed his country’s commitment to the Jewish people.
Last month Breitbart London reported Mr Valls lamented the growing number of departures of French Jews for Israel, as he and Jewish leaders honored four people gunned down in a kosher market a year ago by an attacker claiming ties to the Islamic State group.