After many devastating Islamist extremist attacks in France – the most current happening in Nice – more French Jews say they would feel safer living in Israel. Writer Jack Moore for Newsweek, tells us more about why so many Jews want to flee France, explaining their feelings of fear and defiance, and also how The Fellowship plans to provide Freedom Flights to all those who wish to escape.
“In my synagogue, in general, we have 150 people. People are not coming a lot, it’s not like every Shabbat. There were maybe 80 people,” the 31-year-old rabbi says. “People are scared, because in Paris, first it was all people, and after it was Jewish people.”
“The government have to do something very strong, if not, it is finished,” says Gilbert, 55, who declines to give his last name for security reasons. “The reason to go to Israel is not just because there is a risk, there is another reason to go in Israel. We have a connection with Israel.”
Others, like 70-year-old John-Pierre, who also declines his name, are more resistant to the idea of leaving now at such an age, saying that he is “not afraid because God is up. You have to continue life.”
But thousands of France’s Jews did not wish to continue their lives in France in 2015. Almost 8,000, a record number made up mostly of Parisians, moved to Israel last year and approximately a tenth of the community has emigrated to the country since 2000, according to the Jewish Agency. Further, more than 200 French Jews will be immigrating to Israel on Wednesday aboard the single largest French aliyah flight of this summer.
Now, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), the body that has been assisting French Jews to make aliyah to Israel, estimates that demand to move to the country will rise after Thursday’s attack, despite receiving thousands of calls in a recent month. But the Jewish Agency says it is yet to report a notable increase after the attack.