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French anti-Semitism and French aliyah skyrocket on parallel tracks
by Josh Hasten
Against the backdrop of studies revealing rising anti-Semitism both in France and across all of Europe, as well as one particularly brutal attack in Paris last month, French Jews are flocking to Israel.
On March 30, the Jewish Agency for Israel released figures showing that aliyah from France increased dramatically over the first two months of 2014. In January and February alone, 854 French olim (immigrants) arrived in Israel, compared to 274 over the same period last year, representing a 312-percent increase.
Shay Felber—the Jewish Agency's deputy director-general for community services and resident expert on France, who made aliyah from France with his parents in the 1970s—cites three main reasons for the current trend. Two are anti-Semitism and the difficult economic situation in France. But from a more positive perspective, the high level of Jewish education and Zionistic identity prevalent in the French Jewish community is also leading to an upswing in immigration to Israel, Felber tells JNS.org.
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