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'We Feel Safer in Israel': Nice's Jews Fearful But Defiant

Rabbi Eckstein with French Olim at Western Wall, June 2016 (Photo: IFCJ)

Last week's terror attack in Nice was just the latest in a series of horrific acts by Islamist extremists in France, events that have terrified the country's Jewish community. Newsweek's Jack Moore writes of French Jews' fear and defiance, as well as their longing to make aliyah (immigrate) to the Holy Land, something made possible by The Fellowship's ongoing Freedom Flights:

The community has deep historical ties to the French Riviera city, dating back to the 9th century, and this rousing rendition is a symbol of the patriotism that the 25,000-strong Jewish community here holds.

“The Jewish community in Nice has historically always played an important role in social cohesion, in the economic development of the city and in their message for peace,” Estrosi tells Newsweek. “Here, the Nazi barbary was more violent than anywhere else. This is why it is crucial that we show solidarity. Hurting a Jew anywhere in France or hurting a Jew in Nice is the same as hurting any single one of us.”

With the memory of wanton Nazi murder remembered on Sunday, it is another form of barbary that Jews in Nice are now worried about: radical Islamism. After the Al-Qaeda-claimed Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January 2015, Jews were next to be attacked, at a kosher supermarket.

Nice’s Jews are now worried that they could be the next victims in a city that has surfaced as a serious radicalization hotspot. Dozens of Nice citizens are believed to be fighting in Syria, and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has claimed the truck attack on Thursday that left at least 84 people dead, and dozens wounded, including five Jews...

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...

Tags: Aliyah

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