By Judy Maltz, published in Haaretz September 10, 2015
Israel will continue to draw thousands of French Jews over the next few years, predicts a leader of the community there, who says it is unlikely that those who have already left will heed recent French government pleas to return.
“The pace will continue to be high, so long as people don’t see a future in terms of the economy and security,” said Robert Ejnes, the executive director of CRIF (Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France), the umbrella organization for French Jewry, in an interview with Haaretz. Ejnes, who is visiting Israel for the High Holy Days, also serves as president of the Jewish community of Boulogne.
Last year, a record number of 7,000 French Jews moved to Israel. Ejnes estimated that the number will be upwards of 8,000 this year.
A bad economy and rising anti-Semitism in France are the main factors driving this exodus, said Ejnes. Tipping points were the 2012 attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse, in which a teacher and three children were killed, and last January’s attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, in which four Jews were killed and others were taken hostage. “We understand that young parents are questioning their ability to raise their children in a country where security has to be assured by military and police forces,” he said.
Ejnes pointed to another less publicized factor that may also explain the rising tide of immigration in recent years: pensioners joining their children. “Many French Jews, who already have children and grandchildren in Israel, have waited for retirement to come join them,” he said. “About a quarter of the new immigrants belong to this category”... Read more