Mass ‘exodus’ of Jews from France probable as anti-Semitic attacks double – major Jewish groups

Newly arrived immigrants from France (from L to R) Jonathan Arbibe from Nice and Samuel Chemama, Alexandre Pequito, Myriam Bibas and Aurelie Serraf, all of whom are from Paris, study Hebrew at Ulpan Etzion, the original residential school and absorption centre, which has taught Hebrew to tens of thousands of immigrants since 1949, in Jerusalem, January 20, 2015 (Reuters / Ronen Zvulun)
Leading Jewish thinkers in France are warning that a doubling of anti-Semitism in the country and an alarming rise in anti-Jewish violence may lead to a new mass “exodus.”

Jihadism and Nazism… are two faces of the same evil,” Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress, told a Holocaust forum in Prague on Monday, as he warned France was “close to” a new exodus.

READ MORE: Netanyahu to French Jews: ‘Come home to Israel from terrible European anti-Semitism’

Immigration into Israel has nearly doubled since the start of 2015, according to the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. Israel’s summer operation in Gaza definitely didn’t help, but it is still the old fear of a sparked hatred that haunts Europe’s Jews. The Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing events, including the hostage-taking at the Jewish store, are a testament to rising fears.

The alarm bells are even ringing out from the top of the Israeli government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recommending his fellow Jews to come home to avoid anti-Semitism.

Newly arrived immigrants from France, Charly Nahmani (C), David Gurion and his sister Saloma (R), take a break from Hebrew class at Ulpan Etzion, the original residential school and absorption centre, which has taught Hebrew to tens of thousands of immigrants since 1949, in Jerusalem January 20, 2015 (Reuters / Ronen Zvulun)

A mass “exodus” from France could see up to 600,000 Jews affected, as it is among the European countries with the biggest Jewish populations.

On Tuesday, Kantor’s concerns were echoed by France’s major Jewish group, the Representative Council of French Jews (CRIF).

CRIF reports the number of anti-Semitic acts in France doubled in 2014 to 851 registered, compared to 2013’s 423. The same is true for actual physical violence, whose incidence jumped from 105 to 241.

"These anti-Semitic acts represent 51 percent of racist acts committed in France while Jews make up only one percent of the French population," the group said in a statement.