Where will the French go?
French Jews are leaving France en masse; and despite what French President Francoise Hollande is saying, it’s not because of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments encouraging emigration. They’re leaving because they value their life.
It’s a question of survival.
It’s that visceral.
French Jews are leaving France because they don’t feel safe. They feel forced to hide their identities, their beliefs, their views on Zionism. They’re living in a ghetto, even if there are no physical walls.
So they’re opting to leave.
That’s the history of European Jewry. It’s nomadic. There are myriad spots across the European Continent where Judaism once flourished: Andalusia, Frankfurt, Breslau, Satu Mare, the list goes on. Today, most of those communities are at best shadows of their former glory. In many cases, they simply no longer exist.
Why? Because the Jews escaped. Escaped the deadly anti-Semitism that was threatening their very existence. Those who could got up and left.
Will Paris be the next addition to that list?
There’s a significant difference, however, between past flights of European Jews and the one that is already happening from France.
In the past Jews fled, fully aware that they may have to one day flee their newly adopted home.
There was no security.
This time, fleeing French Jews have a destination that will welcome them with open arms: Israel.
French Jews aren’t leaving because Netanyahu is telling them to; they’re leaving because they no longer feel safe.
At least they have an option and in 2014, 7,000 of them exercised that option.
But where will the French go?
They have no Israel, no safe haven. They have nowhere else to go. Which means France must begin — without delay — to seriously address its problems, including homegrown and foreign-influenced Islamic terrorism, the ghettoization of North African communities, high unemployment among minority groups, and, of course, violent anti-Semitism.
Unity marches are on the face of it are a wonderful thing, but they’re also a band aid, an opportunity for the French people to further lull themselves into a sense of all is well.
All is not well in France.
France must accept that; it has no other choice if it wants to survive as the nation of liberté, egalité, fraternité.