French Jews who are immigrating
to Israel. (AP)
(CNSNews.com) – There has been a massive increase in the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel in recent years, with the projection for 2015 to be 9,000 people, compared to just 1,920 in 2012.
According to the Jewish Agency for Israel’s 2014-15 annual report, Aliyah (immigration of Jews from the diaspora to Israel) from France grew by 120 percent between 2013 and 2014.
CNSNews.com asked the Jewish Agency for Israel why so many Jews are leaving France. The Jewish Agency for Israel was established in 1929 to help facilitate the immigration of Jews to Israel.
Yigal Palmor, director of Public Affairs and Communications for the Jewish Agency for Israel, replied: “The ongoing increase in the number of Jews emigrating from France to Israel in the last three years has come as a surprise to many, including here at the Jewish Agency.”
“There are many factors influencing the decision of French immigrants to come to Israel,” he said. “We cannot quantify the exact proportion that each element has had in the decision making process, and we have not conducted any research among immigration candidates regarding their motivations.”
“However, we believe the main factors are the economic situation, personal drive for change, a religious and cultural attachment to Israel, family ties, political views, insecurity and Antisemitism,” said Palmor.
“There may be other points, but we believe these are the principal considerations, not necessarily in this order,” he added.
“We have learned from the French media that in recent years, a growing number of Frenchmen have decided to emigrate, and by some accounts there are approximately two million French expats currently living in London, New York, Miami, Montreal, Sydney and elsewhere,” said Palmor.
“It is quite safe to say that Jewish immigration from France is part of this general French phenomenon, although many Jews certainly consider also issues related to Antisemitism, in addition to economic and personal concerns,” he said.
There has also been an increase in fatal Antisemitic incidents in France over the past few years.
In January 2015, immediately following the attack on Charlie Hebdo's headquarters, the HyperCacher kosher market in Paris was attacked and four victims were killed, all Jews.
In March 2012, there was an attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in which four victims were killed, all Jews.
In its 2014 Report on Antisemitism in France, the Jewish Community Security Service, using data from the French Ministry of Interior, said there were 851 Antisemitic acts committed in France in 2014. That’s up from 423 such acts in 2013, an increase of 101 percent.
The report defines Antisemitic “actions” and “threats” to include attacks or attempts; homicides or attempts; violence; arson or attempts; defacing or vandalism; oral threats, threatening gestures and insults; flyers and hatemail; graffiti.
Among those 851 Antisemitic acts, 241 were considered “violent,” which was up from 105 violent acts in 2013.