Due to the threat ongoing violence in Ukraine has placed on that nation’s Jewish community, The Fellowship continues to provide aid and aliyah. But with recent violence and terrorism also rampant in France, JNS.org reports on The Fellowship’s efforts to provide help to the French Jewish community, as well:
In the wake of Islamist terror attacks that killed a combined 16 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris, the leader of a prominent Christian-Jewish aid group told JNS.org that he is exploring ways to help French Jews immigrate to Israel.
Brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, the two Muslim terrorists suspected to have carried out the Charlie Hebdo shooting, were killed Friday in a police raid on a printing shop in the Paris suburb of Dammartin-en-Goele, where the Kouachi brothers had taken one man hostage. A separate but simultaneous raid killed Islamist terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who took nearly 20 hostages at Hyper Cacher (the kosher supermarket) on Friday and had killed a female police officer on Thursday. According to French police, Coulibaly was a close associate of Cherif Kouachi and may have been involved in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
“There’s no question in my mind that incidents like this [and] the many others recently are increasing the risk for the Jewish community in France and their desire to leave,” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), told JNS.org.
France, which has both the largest Muslim and Jewish populations in western Europe, saw a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism in 2014, especially in reaction Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas terrorist group last summer. France’s Jewish community suffered several violent attacks, including a recent home invasion and rape in which the attackers referenced the victims’ Jewish faith.
According to Israeli government statistics, France was the leading country for aliyah to Israel in 2014 with new 7,000 arrivals, up from 3,400 in 2013.
While Eckstein said that it is not his organization’s role to take over the responsibility of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel in facilitating the aliyah of French Jews, he acknowledged that his organization is exploring ways that it can help.
“If we can make a difference in more Jews coming out of France, then yes, we will get involved,” Eckstein said.