Jews Flee France for Safe Haven of Israel
Although the recent attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, by a Muslim terrorist was a tragedy of immense proportions, it was not completely unforeseen.
Jews in France have long been facing hostilities from Arab immigrants in that country, and they have likewise long been looking for residences outside of France to which they can flee if the persecution becomes any worse.
It’s already “unbearable” on a day-to-day basis, according to one French Jew who prefers to keep her name a secret. She told Spiegel magazine that life in France has gotten rough for Jews: “Children are harassed on their way to school just because they're Jews. [And once, when] I was wearing a necklace with a Star of David attached to it, someone barged into me. I said to him: 'You ought to excuse yourself!' All he said was that he didn't apologize to Jews.”
In the midst of these rising tensions, French Jews are looking to Israel as a safe haven, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite pleased. He understands that “Israel was set up as a haven for Jews from just such threats.”
Netanyahu described the agony he felt in response the attack on the Jewish school in Toulouse: “I saw the depth of the grief and pain of a young mother who [was] feeding a baby, who lost her husband and two of her little children, the agony of life cut short and hope which was crushed… Those kids were our kids. They were French kids and also Israeli kids.”
Suffice it to say that Netanyahu is not alone in these convictions. The Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption says a total of 100,000 French Jews have immigrated to Israel in recent years, and approximately 2,000 French Jews are “resettling in Israel each year” now. Tel Aviv real estate agent Yitzhak Touitou says, "About a third of my customers are Jews from France. Every French Jew who can somehow come up with the money is buying an apartment here.”
I am betting the Toulouse terrorist attack will only drive these numbers up exponentially. And it should. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be safe.