French Jews have started to move to Israel in unprecedented numbers leaving behind an atmosphere that is increasingly more unwelcoming. They are leaving France for a growing economy in Israel that is luring them thanks to state funding.
Agence Juive in France tracks the emigration of Jews and says that more than 1,400 French Jews headed to Israel from January through March of 2014, put this year on track for the biggest exodus of French Jews to Israel since the birth of that nation in 1949.
In 2013, a total of 3,300 French Jews moved to Israel an increase of 73% over 2012. Other French Jews left for Britain, the United States and other countries.
France has Europe’s largest population of Jews. Their population has increased by close to 50% since World War II to total nearly 550,000 according to CRIF the umbrella group of the community.
Incidents of violence like the three Jewish children and a rabbi murdered by militant Islamist Mohamed Merah back in 2012 and a bomb blast in 2012 at a kosher grocery have stunned the entire Jewish community in France.
CRIF offshoot the Jewish Community Security Service, which tracks incidents that are anti-Semitic that have been reported to law enforcement that range from graffiti to physical attacks last year totaled 423. That figure was down from the 2012 high of 613, but still higher than the average during the 1990s.
French Jews who say they are leaving have said that anti-Semitic sentiment has spread and most notably on blogs on Internet as well as chat forums that have anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist themes.
CRIF president Roger Cukierman said a number of Jews have been put off by the popularity of a Cameroon comedian that speaks negatively about Jews. He believes that shows that the French have become less worried about expressing their anti-Semitism.
The National Front, which is far right party, is expected to win the elections in the European Parliament on Sunday. The party publicly broke due to its anti-Semitism. However, one ex-member Alain Soral who is an activist and anti-Semitic has won a wide online following.