Article Library / 2016

2016 Annual Assessment

In the wake of the January 2015 terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and the Porte de Vincennes kosher supermarket, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompanied French President François Hollande on a visit to the Grand Synagogue of Paris, where a memorial gathering was held for the victims of the attack. Speaking in the presence of senior French government officials and key Jewish community leaders, Netanyahu referred to Israel as “the home of all of us” and said that “any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and a warm and accepting heart.”1

The reassuring speech did not fall on deaf ears: the Israeli Prime Minister’s assurance that French Jewry could regard the Jewish state as a safe harbor in case of need was met with thunderous applause, and an official plan to encourage French Aliyah soon followed. In light of recent economic, demographic, and political upheavals in France, and in the shadow of intensifying anti-Semitism and terrorism, a significant number of French Jews now regard Aliyah as a real option, and the prime minister’s statement as an invitation, even a State commitment, to assist them in the immigration and absorption process.