Thousands of Jews Left France for Israel in 2016

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Jan 09, 2017 3:10 PM
Thousands of Jews Left France for Israel in 2016

Having had enough of the attacks on their community in France, 5,000 Jews living in the country emigrated to Israel in 2016—adding to the tens of thousands who've already left.

The Jewish Agency of Israel issued the update as France marked two years since attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, where four shoppers were shot dead.

Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, said that insecurity had been a "catalyst" for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.

The 5,000 departures in 2016 add to the record 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014. In total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006, according to figures seen by AFP.

The French Jewish community is the largest in Europe at around 500,000, but the act of moving to Israel “has been significant over the last decade,” Benhaim told AFP.

It was shocked in 2006 by the kidnapping and brutal anti-Semitic killing of a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, in the Paris suburbs, which was followed by a shooting in a Jewish school in the southwest city of Toulouse in 2012. […]

France paid homage Monday to some of the victims of three days of violence in Paris in January 2015 that saw two Islamic extremists attack the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 12 people, and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in eastern Paris.

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four people after taking shoppers hostage at the Jewish store. He was later shot dead by anti-terror police when they stormed the premises.

Experts also note that the recent attacks aren’t the only reason Jews are leaving—some go to Israel due to familial, religious, and economic reasons. And some will eventually go home. It’s estimated that between 10 and 35 percent of those who go to Israel will return to their country of origin.