Yesterday, 145 members of France's Jewish community made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) on the latest Fellowship Freedom Flight. There have been many incidents of anti-Semitism toward that nation's Jews, and The Times of Israel's Raoul Wootliff writes about a recent act of violence that acted as a warning sign for France's Jews to move to their biblical homeland, Israel:
The killing of French Jew Sarah Halimi and subsequent efforts to deny its anti-Semitic motives represent a turning point for France’s Jewish community and must seen as a “warning sign” of the country’s changing attitudes towards Jews.
That is the message William Attal, Halimi’s brother, is seeking to stress to both the French community and to Jews around the world.
Speaking to the Times of Israel this week in the Paris suburb where he grew up and still lives, Attal, 62, described the killing and its treatment by police as “a modern day Dreyfus affair,” referring to the late-19th century trial in which a Jewish army officer was falsely labeled a traitor to the French Republic after he was accused of passing secrets to Germany.
“Here too, there is a willing blindness on behalf of the French authorities to see and do justice,” Attal said, during the first in-depth interview anyone from the family has given since the April killing...
Halimi’s family has remained mostly silent as the case has roiled the Jewish community. While French Jews widely regard the killing as the latest in a series of Islamist attacks on the country’s large Jewish population (estimated at some 500,000-600,000), the authorities’ have refused to mark it a hate crime.
On April 4, in Paris’s 11th district, 64-year-old Halimi was tortured and thrown out of her third-story apartment to her death. The suspect, Kobili Traore, a Muslim neighbor of Halimi’s who lives in the same building, was reportedly heard by witnesses during the attack shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “Allah is the greatest,” reciting passages from the Koran and declaring that he was “the devil” who had come to kill her...
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president, told the Times of Israel that his organization’s program, which provides new immigrants with financial aid on arrival, is aimed at helping French Jews “suffering from regular aggression and serious violence, from Muslim extremists that live in the suburbs where the Jews live as a besieged minority...”