French-Jewish families are being forced from their homes in Paris suburbs as Europe continues to be convulsed by levels of anti-Semitism not seen since the end of the Second World War.
The Paris commuter newspaper 20 Minutes documents an “internal exodus” during 2017 of Jews from the Seine-Saint-Denis department, saying it is emblematic of broader concerns that French Jews, like their brothers and sisters across Europe, are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile their faith with the changing demographics of the continent.
The paper reports that Jews are leaving their homes on the northeastern fringe of Paris to escape the open hostility that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday condemned as “well-rooted.” The newspaper reports:
This ‘internal exodus’ is difficult to quantify, but it is clear that many synagogues of Seine-Saint-Denis have closed, for lack of people. In Pierrefitte, the rabbi has recorded a 50 percent decline in the congregations since his arrival thirteen years ago. A similar story is told in (nearby) Bondy, where attendance on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish calendar) has fallen from about 800 to 400 in the last decade.
The Bondy synagogue president saw a “deteriorating climate” of the last 15 years as driving the exodus, “It’s hard to explain, it’s provocations, it’s looks,” he lamented. “There are places where we do not feel welcome.”
His observations mimic those made 12 months before in nearby Raincy, where local Rabbi Moshe Lewin said he feared he could be one of the last Jewish leaders in Seine-Saint-Denis.
“What upsets me is that in some areas of France, Jews can no longer live peacefully, and that just five minutes from my home, some are forced to hide their kippas (skullcaps) or their Star of David,” he said.
The sensation of “not feeling welcome” is nothing new to French Jews. In 2015, journalist Zvika Klein recorded the reaction to his taking to the streets of Paris wearing a traditional kippa. See the result for yourself below:
Klein later points out the irony that Paris today is a city “where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner” but where “soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution.”
Sammy Ghozlan, the president of the Jewish communal security organization BNCVA, told 20 Minutes that it was vital “not to underestimate the antisemitism we experience on a daily basis.”
“For a long time, Jews were targeted through their symbols — today, people themselves are targeted directly,” Ghozlan said.
As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, the experience of Jews in Paris is much the same across the rest of the country. More and more are feeling so unsafe that they now feel they have no other choice but to move to Israel for safety.
They are continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands of Jews quit the country in the past decade.
More than 5,000 departures were recorded in 2016 on top of the record 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014. In total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006, according to figures cited by AFP.
On the evidence, that number will not be falling anytime soon.