Israelis Support Paris Jews — With 'Charlie' Pun

Photo by Naomi Zeveloff

As a million people gathered in today’s Paris march, French Jewish immigrants stood in solidarity with their co-religionists abroad, first at a post-Sabbath rally outside the French Embassy in Tel Aviv and then on Sunday at Jerusalem’s City Hall.

Hundreds of French Jews gathered in a conference room for the Jerusalem event, which began with a somber reading of the names of those killed in the attacks over the past week. Audience members held “Je Suis Charlie” signs as well as placards in Hebrew that read “Israel is Charlie” and, most creatively, “Tzar li,” a play on the name Charlie that means “I’m hurting.” The pun was a perfect way for Israelis to express empathy for French Jews and the painful experience they have just lived through.

As Israeli leaders made their way to Paris today to march in solidarity with the victims of last week’s attacks, the Jewish Agency was doing double duty by recruiting French Jews to immigrate to Israel.

Hundreds of Jews attended a Paris “aliyah fair” that had been planned before the attacks. About 1% of France’s Jewish population of 500,000 has already immigrated to Israel. Last year, 7,000 French Jews made aliyah, double the number that had come the previous year. After the attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to increase efforts to bring European Jews to Israel.

At the Jerusalem rally, French Jews in attendance felt mixed on the idea that French Jews should move to Israel for their own safety.

Photo by Naomi Zeveloff

Yonatan Wengraf, a 37-year-old who had immigrated to Israel 19 years ago, said he believed every Jew in the world should come to Israel — but not because of “the situation,” as he called it. “The Torah says to do so,” he said.

Wengraf said that the situation for Jews in France was getting worse, but added that Jews “should be able to live there for next few years” until, he predicted, a “civil war” would break out between Muslims and non-Muslims in France.

Oliver Raphael Sayada, who moved to Jerusalem five and a half years ago for religious reasons, said that French Jews should not make a “radical rupture” with their home country. He said that Jews in France help promote a better relationship between France and Israel.

“What happens in France concerns all the Jews here,” he said. “And what happens here concerns all the Jews in France.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Author

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Israelis Support Paris Jews — With 'Charlie' Pun

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close