Published on 15 March 2015

Life still uncomfortable for many of France's Jews

NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with Roger Cukierman, President of the Council of French Jewish Institutions.

Published on, March 3rd, 2015
They discuss the climate in France following last month's attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, and an appeal by Israel's prime minister for French Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu isn't the only foreign Jewish leader in Washington today. Roger Cukierman is here, too. He's not a government leader. He's the President of CRIF. That's the French acronym for the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions. The French Jewish community has recently experienced the attack on a Paris kosher supermarket and the murder of French Jewish hostages there. And French Jews have heard Benjamin Netanyahu's appeal to leave France and move to Israel. French immigration to Israel is up in recent years. So there's a lot talk about. Mr. Cukierman, welcome to the program.
SIEGEL: Mr. Cukierman, what is it like to live as a Jew in France today? Do you feel fear on a daily basis?
CUKIERMAN: It's not very comfortable because you cannot wear a kippah in the subway.
SIEGEL: That's a skullcap.
CUKIERMAN: Yeah, we have in front of the French Jewish schools, or the synagogues, not only police, but even the army. And for a father or mother to bring its child in a fortress guarded by people with machine guns is frightening.
SIEGEL: And the appeal of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to say give it up, come to Israel.
CUKIERMAN: You know, people who decide to leave France do not leave France because a prime minister of a country advised them to do so. They do so because they find that their situation is difficult… Read more.