The Jewish community in France is experiencing a mass exodus.
According to a report published by The Jewish Agency for Israel, around 5,000 Jews from France have migrated to Israel in the year 2016 alone. The mass exodus is part of an ongoing trend that has been witness to thousands of Jews leaving the European nation in the wake of rising anti-Semitic attacks.
The report was released by the Jewish Agency for Israel at a time when France celebrated its two-year anniversary since the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket attacks. Charlie Hebdo is a French satire-themed publication that was attacked for publishing images of Mohammed, which were seen as insulting.
Gunmen shot down around 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo office on that fateful day, while another four were killed at the Jewish supermarket.
According to Daniel Benhaim, who serves as the Head of the agency in Israel, insecurity was the prime reason behind the decision to migrate.
The 5,000 departures are in addition to the 7,900 departures that were recorded in 2015. In 2014, France witnessed around 7,231 departures. On the whole, France has witnesses the migration of 40,000 French Jews since 2006. These figures were provided by the AFP.
However, it has been observed that a significant number of Jews who migrate, do choose to return eventually. The number of those who return has been estimated to be around 10 to 35 percent.
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Some experts state that it isn’t just the attacks that are to be blamed for the migrations. They say that other factors such as economic pressures, religious considerations, and familial ties also play a role here.
The French Jews are the largest group of European Jews, accounting for about 500,000 of the overall European Jewish population.
One of the most shocking anti-Semitic attacks to have taken place in France involved the killing of a Jewish man named Ilan Halimi in 2006. This was followed by a shooting in 2012, which took place inside a Jewish school located in Toulouse, a south-western city.
Anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise across the whole of Europe as well. In 2014, Brussels witnessed the killing of four people at a Jewish museum. In Denmark, a shooter opened fire at a synagogue, which led to the death of one person.