Contributed by CAMERA fellow David Enav
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, and the French Republic has felt it the most. France is a country well known for its royalty, art, and pursuit of democracy. This winter, France has been synonymous with terrorism as a result of the rise of European radical Islam. This winter, radical Islamist terror in Europe culminated with the murders on the headquarters of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and at a Jewish supermarket in Paris. These events have caused many across the world to unite against terror. However, radical Islam is a cancer that has already spread across the world, and it will take much more to counteract it. Oftentimes, Jews are targeted by a small percentage of Muslims who claim to be fighting against Israeli policies when they are just plainly anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, many Jews in France are sadly realizing they are no longer safe in their home country.
France is host to 500,000 Jews, the third-largest Jewish population in the world. In the last few years, France has started to look like Germany in the 1930s. Large protests in the streets chanting “Jews—France is not for you” and “Death to the Jews” have increased in popularity, and these riots often become violent. Viral videos of Jewish shops being burned and vandalized are eerily similar to the events of Kristallnacht in 1939. Anti-Semitic incidents like the riots outside the Synagogue de la Roquette in central Paris, where hundreds of anti-Israel protesters attempted to enter a synagogue, happen routinely. In 2012, a Rabbi and three children were killed at a Jewish day school in Toulouse. As a result of anti-Jewish hostility, nearly three-quarters of French Jews surveyed in 2013 said they were considering leaving the country. With the immense amount of threats and hatred, the hope for Jews in France is dwindling.
There are, however, positive signs, such as leaders like French Prime Minister Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel taking firm stances against anti-Semitism. But with radical Islam on the rise, and with many Jews being targeted as a result, many are skeptical as to how the governments can counteract it. According to the Washington Post, around 4,700 French soldiers have been stationed to protect Jewish schools. The level of concern of the French government is admirable, but the fact this level of security is needed shows that Jews in Europe face a very large problem. With radical Islam quickly spreading from the Middle East to Europe, drastic measures will have to be taken to solve this problem.
However, there is one country that is openly accepts any Jew who no longer feels safe in France. That country is no other than the homeland of the Jewish People, Israel. In Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked alongside politicians from all over the world and millions of people in solidarity against terrorism. Israel is a nation that has triumphed over terrorism time and time again, as they are at the forefront of countering radical Islamists in the Middle East. Israel has constantly fought off terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and, more recently, ISIS, who seeks its destruction.
Since its founding in 1948, Israel has established itself as a refuge for the Jewish people. Israel has absorbed millions of Jewish migrants escaping anti-Semitism, the largest groups being Jews fleeing Europe after the Holocaust and Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Arab countries. Israel is not a country run by Jewish Law, but rather on democratic legislation that reflects Jewish and Western values and morals.
There is a phrase in Judaism that translates to “All of Israel are responsible for each other.” The state of Israel is committed to taking care of Jews, no matter where they choose to live. In 2014 alone, 7,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel. This year, there are estimates at a record—10,000 new arrivals to the Holy Land.
Israeli Ambassador the United States Ron Dermer stated in an MSNBC interview, “Any Jew in the world who feels threatened will always have a home in Israel.”