Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Friday that French immigration to Israel is on track to reach 6,000 this year. The report cites a “climate of anti-Semitism” as a primary motivator behind the trend.
A Jewish Agency official acknowledged the phenomenon, commenting:
“France is today the leading country for Jewish emigration to Israel. It has never been before,” said Ariel Kandel, head of the French office of the Jewish Agency for Israel. …
Kandel noted that the predicted departures this year were likely to be around one percent of the total Jewish community in France, which is estimated around 500,000.
“In the Western or free world, we’ve never seen one percent of the Jewish community emigrating to Israel,” he said.
The next three countries with the largest number of Jews immigrating to Israel are Ukraine, Russia and the United States.
Earlier this year, two thirds of French Jews polled said that they were considering leaving France, and half of those expressed an interest in moving to Israel. If the trend holds up for the rest of the year, immigration to Israel from France would be nearly double the rate it was in 2013, and would be roughly triple the rate of the years 2008 – 2012.
At the time, then French Interior Minister and current Prime Minister Manuel Valls called anti-Zionism “today’s anti-Semitism.” In July, a French rabbi, Saloman Malka, who was profiled by The New York Times, made a similar observation.
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