They are bailing.
BTl touched on this below, and I’ve commented previously, but the media is finally covering this a little bit.
Increasing numbers of French Jews are leaving for 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. [The AP refuses to mention the Jew hatred living in the French Left, but trust me, it’s there. – Aggie]
Israel, seeing the influx as a success, is doubling down on its efforts to attract Europeans, planning to dedicate $29 million over two years to bring in new 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. [The more things change, the more they stay the same… plus ca change, right Frenchie? – Aggie]
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 came after 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.
And then there’s the famous French sense of humor:
“I am not an anti-Semite,” French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala says with a devilish grin near the start of his hit show at this city’s Théâtre de la Main d’Or.
Then come the Jew jokes.
In front of a packed house, he apes Alain Jakubowicz, a French Jewish leader who calls the humor of Dieudonné tantamount to hate speech. While the comedian skewers Jakubowicz, Stars of David glow on screen and, as the audience guffaws, a soundtrack plays evoking the trains to Nazi death camps. In various other skits, he belittles the Holocaust, then mocks it as a gross exaggeration.
In a country where Jewish leaders are decrying the worst climate of anti-Semitism in decades, Dieudonné, a longtime comedian and erstwhile politician whose attacks on Jews have grown progressively worse, is a sign of the times. French authorities issued an effective ban on his latest show in January for inciting hate. So he reworked the material to get back on stage — cutting, for instance, one joke lamenting the lack of modern-day gas chambers.
Isn’t that hilarious?
But the Afro-French comedian, whose stage name is simply Dieudonné, managed to salvage other bits, including his signature “quenelle” salute. Across Europe, the downward-pointing arm gesture that looks like an inverted Nazi salute has now gone so viral that it has popped up on army bases, in parliaments, at weddings and at professional soccer matches. Neo-Nazis have used it in front of synagogues and Holocaust memorials. Earlier this year, bands of Dieudonné supporters flashed it during a street protest in Paris while shouting, “Jews, out of France!”
“Dieudonné is getting millions of views on his videos on the Internet and is spreading his quenelle,” said Roger Cukierman, president of the Council for Jewish Institutions in France. “Something very worrying is happening in France. This is not a good time for Jews.”
Look at the numbers:
A recent global survey by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League suggested that France now has the highest percentage in Western Europe — 37 percent — of people openly harboring anti-Semitic views. That compares with 8 percent in Britain, 20 percent in Italy and 27 percent in Germany.
Hey, all you libs that refused to visit South Africa during apartheid! Why are you vacationing in France? They are violent animals.
“I walked into my kosher sandwich shop the other day and the owner asked me, ‘Is it time to leave? Are we Nazi Germany yet?’?” said Shimon Samuels, the Paris-based international director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “We’ve got the National Front in first place. We’ve got Dieudonné, spreading his hate. So I told him, ‘Well, do you really want to be the last to go?’?”
Let’s listen to the children, something that all good Lefties encourage:
“We’ve been thinking about moving for a long time, but the climate was not as dangerous as it is now,” said Alain, 30, a medical equipment specialist who is moving to Israel in July with his wife and three children. He declined to give his last name out of fear for his family’s security.
Sitting at his modest dining-room table in eastern Paris, a set of moving boxes in the next room, he added: “It bothers me because this is not normal; this is not how I remember France when I was growing up.”
Two weeks ago, Alain said, he woke up to find his 13-year-old daughter, Michele, crying. After a recent attack on two Jewish boys not far from her school, she said she was too afraid to join her regular car pool. Instead, she demanded that he take her to school and pick her up, standing guard as she entered and exited each day. He has moved his work schedule around to accommodate her request.
Asked what she was scared of, Michele, an elegant French teenager in a fashionable black skirt and white T-shirt, looked down and said: “I’m afraid that what happened in Toulouse will happen at my school, too. .?.?. I hear what people say about Jews. And I am scared.”
And here’s a personal anecdote, something to help other Americans understand how this feels. My oldest kid attending a Jewish day school for one year. In the early spring, someone left a note threatening to kill the Jewish children. This was in an affluent suburb of Boston. We finished the year but didn’t return. I can guarantee you that Jewish parents in France are completely torn. How difficult it is to lose your language, job, culture, and everything that it familiar to you. But that is so much easier than losing a child.