Friday, January 15, 2016
Jewish immigration to Israel from western Europe has reached an all-time high as a result of a rise in attacks, a leading non-profit group has said
The Jewish Agency, which works closely with the Israeli government and acts as a link to Jews around the world, said that 9,880 Jews from Western Europe immigrated to Israel in 2015 – the highest annual number ever. The figure is more than 10% over the previous year and more than double the 2013 level. The vast majority, close to 8,000, came from France, where a rise in attacks has shattered the sense of security of the world’s third-largest Jewish population. Close to 800 Jews emigrated from Britain in 2015. Italy and Belgium were next on the list. Jews have been targeted in Belgium, Denmark and other European countries, but France has seen the worst of it. Jews have increasingly reported assaults and intimidation, mostly from Muslim extremists. Some attacks have been linked to anger at Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. France’s Jewish community of some 500,000 is the largest in Europe. Recently, a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd attacked and wounded a Jewish teacher on a street in Marseille, France’s second-largest city, then told police after his arrest that he acted in the name of the Islamic State group.