Spike in French Jews Immigrating to Israel

USA Today reports: PARIS — Yael Haccoun and her family are Orthodox Jews from the working-class Paris suburb of Sarcelles, but they flew to Israel in late September to start a new life and escape the anti-Semitism around them.

“French people think that it’s natural when Jews are targeted” in terror attacks, said Haccoun, 33, as she waited with her husband and their three children here at the airport. “The fact that the army must protect Jewish schools and synagogues isn’t normal.”

She said her family watched in horror in July 2014 as a demonstration protesting Israel’s war with Hamas turned into an anti-Semitic rampage. Dozens of young men chanting “God is great” in Arabic and “death to the Jews” attacked Jewish-owned businesses with clubs and fire bombs.

The number of French Jews immigrating to Israel rose from 1,900 in 2011 to nearly 8,000 last year, said Jacques Canet, president of La Victoire, the great synagogue of Paris. He said the country’s 500,000 to 600,000 French Jews — the third largest Jewish population in the world — “feel threatened.”

“Increasingly, Jews in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Sarcelles feel they can’t safely wear a kippah (yarmulke, or skull cap) outside their homes or send their children to public schools, where Muslim children bully Jewish children,” Canet said.

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