By the thousands, French Jews leave for Israel
PARIS — Increasing numbers of French Jews are moving to Israel, citing dim economic prospects and a sense of being caught between an increasingly influential far right and militant Islam. More than 5,000 are on track to leave this year, the most since after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Israel, viewing the influx as a success, is doubling down on its efforts to attract Europeans, planning to dedicate $29 million during two years to bring in immigrants.
France has the world's third-largest Jewish population after Israel and the United States — about 500,000, according to rough estimates. The country bans any official documentation of a person's race, religion or ethnicity in a law with roots in French shame over its collaboration with the Nazis.
Since World War II, France has redoubled efforts to make Jewish families feel welcome. But many say dramatic acts of anti-Semitism, coupled with France's stagnant economy — which includes a 25 percent youth unemployment rate, compared with 11 percent in Israel — make a hard choice easier.
Laurie Levy, 26, left in 2013. A native of the southern city of Toulouse, her departure occurred when attacks by a French-born Islamic radical on a Jewish school and soldiers left seven people dead, including three children and a rabbi. She has given up on a career in French law and left behind her parents and siblings.
In Tel Aviv, she no longer feels the need to hide the Star of David she wears around her neck. But there are other concerns: Her parents are unlikely to uproot themselves, and she worries about their future back in France. They, in turn, worry about her, living alone in a different country.
“Life is beautiful here. You work. You go to the beach. You see your friends. You're not afraid,” said Levy, who now works at an Israeli design firm. “The irony is that I am more concerned about them than they are about me.”
That she was able to switch fields and find a job is a demonstration of Israel's economic allure. The country annually welcomes 1,000 French youths for a year abroad, and 70 percent of them decide to stay in Israel, according to Ariel Kandel, who runs the Jewish Agency for Israel in Paris.
The agency, which works closely with the Israeli government, aims to strengthen ties between Jews in the diaspora, and Israel and spends tens of millions of dollars each year to bring Jews to Israel permanently.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- After U.S. indictments, Chinese military scalesc back hacks on American industry
- Pope Francis visits mosque in war-torn Central African Republic, calls for end to conflict
- World leaders show willingness to act at climate change summit
- Burned-out van belonged to missing Australians, Mexican prosecutors say
- Israeli court convicts two Jewish teenagers in 2014 killing of Palestinian youth
- Boko Haram destroys Nigerian military base; 107 troops MIA
- Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion law ‘breaches human rights,’ court rules
- Obama: Climate pact an ‘act of defiance’ after Paris attacks
- Palestinian artist who appealed blasphemy sentence of 800 lashes, prison sentenced to execution
- Senators call for 20,000 more troops in Syria and Iraq
- French lawmakers vote to continue airstrikes against Islamic State