Hundreds of Israel-Bound Jews Say Adieu to France

Aliyah Fete Muted by Grief at Murdered Teens

Au Revoir France: French Jews demonstrate support for Israel. Buffeted by economic pressure and rising anti-Semitism, more are lining up to immigrate to the Jewish state.
getty images
Au Revoir France: French Jews demonstrate support for Israel. Buffeted by economic pressure and rising anti-Semitism, more are lining up to immigrate to the Jewish state.

By JTA

Published July 02, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Hundreds of soon-to-be immigrants to Israel gathered at one of the French capital’s largest synagogues for a sendoff ceremony celebrating their departure.

Some 700 people attended the ceremony Wednesday at the Synagogue de Tournelles, which began with a moment of silence in memory of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, the Israeli teenagers whose bodies were discovered Monday near Hebron. They were kidnapped and killed on June 12.

Immigration levels from France are at record levels, which Jewish Agency officials attribute to the community’s strong emotional attachment to Israel, rising levels of anti-Semitism and a stagnant economy in France.

Many of the new immigrants cited anti-Semitism, which has increased in frequency since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s.

“When I was a child, I could leave home wearing my kippah,” said one of the soon-to-be immigrants, Lionel Bresso, who is moving this month to Netanya. “Now I wear a baseball cap and my daughter leaves home only to go to school. I don’t want her to grow up like that.”

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and his wife, Avital, were among those on hand at the ceremony along with Israeli Immigration Minister Sofa Landver and Haim Korsia, France’s newly elected chief rabbi.

During her address, Landver announced new regulations passed last month that she promised would ensure that most French professional diplomas — especially in paramedical fields such as optometry and physiotherapy — are automatically recognized in Israel, making it unnecessary for the new arrivals to retake exams.

“If you were good at your job here, you will be excellent in Israel,” she said. “We want you back home, our home.”

From January to May, a total of 2,254 French Jews have immigrated to Israel, or made aliyah, compared to 580 during the corresponding period last year. Another 1,000 to 1,500 are expected to immigrate this summer, according to the Jewish Agency.

In 2013, immigration from France crossed the 3,000-person mark — an increase of 31 percent over the annual average of new arrivals from France between the years 1999 and 2012 and a level reached previously only four times.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.