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French Jews Seek to Flee France

Amid Nice Terror Attack, Jews of France moving to Israel

The Fellowship has received more than 5,000 calls in recent months from French Jews about aliyah, expects numbers to climb after latest attack

NICE, France,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), the main organization helping Jews of France immigrate to Israel (make aliyah), has received thousands of recent inquiries from French Jews seeking to go to Israel and expects that number to climb following Thursday’s terror attack in Nice.

The Fellowship in June brought 82 Jews from across France to Israel, and, additionally, is preparing to bring more than 150 to Israel this month, including several Nice families. French Jews in this seaside city were attending a Fellowship aliyah meeting Thursday evening one block from where a terrorist rammed a truck filled with munitions into a large crowd celebrating Bastille Day, in one of the country’s worst terrorist attacks. An estimated 84 men, women and children were killed and many more were injured. According to media reports, two French-Jewish women, Clara Bensimon, 80, and her sister Raymonde Mamane, 77, were among five Jews wounded in the Nice attack.

The Fellowship says it has received more than 5,100 calls and hundreds of emails from French Jews inquiring about aliyah in recent months, and now Fellowship officials expect that number to climb amid the attack in Nice, the latest to strike France over the past year.

“We mourn for the victims of this despicable attack and pray for a speedy recovery for those who were hurt,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. “Sadly, this horrific attack underscores the pressing need to help bring as many Jews who wish to leave France to their homeland in Israel, and this is what we will continue to do.”

The French-Jewish aliyah is part of The Fellowship’s global aliyah initiative to bring Jews facing economic and security threats to Israel. In recent months The Fellowship has helped over 2,000 Jews make aliyah, not only from France but also from other countries where Jews face economic and security challenges including Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Turkey and Ukraine. The Fellowship has also been funding security upgrades at French-Jewish communal institutions, including schools and synagogues, in the wake of terror attacks over the past year.
Several of the Jews leaving France with The Fellowship say they are escaping what has become an intolerable situation for the Jewish community. Some describe being afraid to wear yarmulkes outdoors or to display any other visible signs of being Jews, while others say they are growing increasingly concerned about radical Islamic anti-Semitism.

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European rabbis honor former French President Sarkozy for protecting Jewish life in France


WJC, France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current leader of the country's opposition Republican party, addresed a ceremony in London of the Conference of European Rabbis.

Sarkozy said French Jews should feel comfortable to practize their faith in public. Sarkozy was honored by Europe's leading rabbinical organization for protecting the French community during his stints as interior minister, prime minister and president of France.

Sarkozy told the gala dinner: “We do not want French Jews to leave France because they are afraid. We want them to be comfortable to wear a kippah. We must stand up to protect our Jewish communities. It is impossible not to. We didn't fight the Nazis to force the Jews to run to Israel 70 years later.”

Sarkozy was the first recipient of the Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize, which is bestowed by CER in memory of the former Romanian chief rabbi who for many years safeguarded his community through great self-sacrifice during years of communist rule.

Dinner guests included CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow, and Associate President Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the UK chief rabbi.

Goldschmidt said: “France is the main battleground between hope and fear for the future of Europe, especially for the Jewish community. President Sarkozy is at the forefront of that battle and his support is crucial for the future of our communities.”
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Outrage in France after brutal attack against Jewish couple near Paris

France is in shock after a young Jewish couple was assaulted in what police are treating as an anti-Semitic attack.

WJC, Two adult men from Créteil, the Paris suburb where the attack took place, have been arrested by police in connection with the crime while a third suspect is still being sought.
The attack occurred on Monday. Three men armed with a pistol and a shotgun stormed the home of a Jewish family in Créteil, one of the eastern outskirts of French capital. After knocking on the door of the apartment and then breaking in, they demanded money and shouted anti-Semitic insults.

One of the sons in the family, 21 years of age, was there at the time with his 19-year-old girlfriend while the parents were away. One of the assailants proceeded to withdraw money from the nearest ATM with the couple's stolen debit cards while the two others remained in the apartment with the couple. The duo then raped the woman and tied up the man. After hearing them scream, a neighbor called the police.

According to a report by France's BFM website, the assailants targeted this particular couple because they mistakenly thought the male victim, a salesman at a popular clothing store at the Creteil mall, was the store's manager and had access to large amounts of money. Before the rape, the men demanded that the couple hand over their credit cards and codes, the couple later told police.

"Tell us where you hide the money," said one of the assailants during the robbery, according to one of the victims' friends in the BFM report. "You Jews always have money.”

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The French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF strongly condemned what it termed “a savage anti-Semitic aggression” and urged authorities to act against growing anti-Semitism in the country:

“Anti-Semitism is continuing to rage across our country: Anti-Semitic prejudice is becoming stronger and increasingly perturbing, as revealed a recent survey of Fondapol/Ifop about anti-Semitism in France. We call for a specific plan to be urgently put in place whose aim it must be to deploy unprecedented judicial and police measures to reverse this trend. The CRIF expresses its support to the victims and their families,” the CRIF statement said.

France has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in recent years, and it flared particularly during this Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, with violent protests in Paris and other French cities.

On Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attack as “vile” and said that it demonstrated that the fight against anti-Semitism was a daily struggle.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement on Wednesday that the attack’s "anti-Semitic nature seems proven" as the assailants had "started with the idea that being Jewish means having money.”
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French Jewish leader laments ‘climate of anti-Semitism’

On the 70th anniversary of the French Jewish umbrella body CRIF, its leader Roger Cukiermanlashed out at both extreme-left and extreme-right parties, accusing them of fostering anti-Semitism.

WJC, The deadly shooting at Toulouse Jewish school in 2012 was a 'national tragedy' according to President Sarkozy
The French Jewish umbrella organization CRIFis celebrating the 70 years of its existence. A delegation by Jewish leaders led by World Jewish Congress Vice-President RogerCukierman, who heads the CRIF, was receivedon Monday in Paris by French PresidentFrançois Hollande.
In a series of interviews, Cukierman lamented a “climate of anti-Semitism” in France and singled out both extreme-right and extreme-left parties for contributing in different ways to increase resentment against Jews. He slammed the anti-Zionist attitude of the Leftist Front, an alliance of Socialist and Communist parties, and the fact that far-right leader Marine Le Pen had never distanced herself from controversial statements made by her father, the former National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who once called the Nazi gas chambers “a detail of the history of World War II.”
“Behind the National Front stand all the anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers,” Cukierman said in an interview with ‘RTL Radio’.
He also attacked the comedian Dieudonné, an outspoken supporter for the National Front, as an “anti-Semitism professional” who was using his reputation to “fabricate and disseminate anti-Semitism. That is very worrying,” the CRIF president said.
Receiving the CRIF delegation at the Elysée Palace, President Hollande said he understood the special bond of French Jews with Israel, which was “natural”. He also said that “France needs its Jews.”

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Hollande to Israel: France Will Keep Sanctions on Iran

VOA News, French President Francois Hollande says his government will maintain sanctions and pressure against Iran until he is certain that it has renounced a suspected nuclear weapons program.

Hollande made the pledge to Israeli leaders after arriving in Israel Sunday at the start of a three-day visit. In a welcome ceremony at the airport, the French president said Paris will not tolerate nuclear proliferation. Speaking in Hebrew, Hollande also said, "I will always remain a friend of Israel."

Israel has been urging France and five other world powers not to ease sanctions on Iran as they negotiate with the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in August. Israeli leaders see a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence. Tehran has repeatedly called for Israel's demise.

The six world powers, known as the P5+1, held a second round of talks with the Rouhani government in Geneva earlier this month, hoping to reach a diplomatic solution to international concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. Another round is due to begin in Geneva Wednesday.

Iran has demanded relief from sanctions that have hurt its economy, but has refused to stop uranium enrichment, a process with civilian and military uses.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against easing pressure on Iran without forcing it to give up uranium enrichment. Speaking Sunday at a joint news conference with Hollande, the Israeli prime minister said such a concession would be a "dream deal" for Iran and the "worst nightmare" for the world.

In a report published Sunday, the Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying Iran does need other countries to explicitly "recognize" an Iranian right to enrich uranium. Zarif said enrichment already is a fundamental right that "all countries should respect."

France has said it opposes any deal that would do too little to curb Iran's enrichment or to stop its development of a reactor capable of producing plutonium, another nuclear weapons ingredient.

Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian energy and medical research, a charge Tehran denies.

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