PARIS (Reuters) - As more and more French Jews nervously consider moving to Israel to escape rising anti-Semitism, many worry the Jewish state may not be as much of a promised land as they would hope.
Three days of violence in Paris last week, when four Jews were among the 17 people killed by Islamist militants, has made “aliyah” - or “ascent” to Israel - the main topic among the country’s 550,000-strong Jewish community, Europe’s largest.
In one corner of the room, couples huddled with Israeli social security officials, glumly comparing the services they enjoy in France to Israel’s leaner healthcare coverage, unemployment support or pension payments.
“HUGE POTENTIAL” FOR EMIGRATION France became the world’s leading country for migrants to Israel last year with about 7,000 departures, more than double those in 2013.About 50,000 Jews attended the sessions last year, said Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident who “made aliyah” in 1986. The Jewish Agency said calls to its French call center had spiked in recent days, but visitors to Sunday’s information fair said they did not come because of last week’s attacks.“We’ve been thinking this over for the past four years and still can’t decide,” said a woman afraid to go to her work at a Jewish crèche after being insulted and spat on in the street.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to encourage departures, telling French Jews at the weekend that “Israel is also your home”.But in debates in Jewish neighborhoods or at Israeli information sessions, worries about what awaits them - notably the loss of generous French social benefits - are as strong as concerns over the growing hostility they face here. You need Hebrew, so you have to learn a new language.” “I talked about it with my wife yesterday, and we got into a fight,” said Sami, a member of a volunteer parents’ security service to protect the nearby Jewish school his children attend.
The Islamic State video of the killing can be viewed here.