Following the jihadist attack on a kippa [Jewish skull-cap] wearing Jewish teacher in Marseille, the president of the city’s Jewish community, Zvi Ammar, advised French Jews to leave their kippas at home. In my view, it is time for the Israeli Foreign Office to assist French Jews in leaving France before it is too late.
Following his recommendation for Jews to take off their kippas, “until better days,” Mr. Ammar was fiercely criticized. As reported in the European Jewish Press. France’s Chief Rabbi, Haim Korsia, said that Jews should continue wearing their kippas in public in order to form a “united front.” “We will not cede!” he stated. “We will continue to wear the kippa.”
Similarly, Joel Mergui, president of France’s Consistory, an umbrella organization that administers to Jewish congregations, stated, “Don’t touch my kippa! He [Ammar] knows as well as I do that wearing a kippa or not won’t resolve the issue of terrorism.” And finally, Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), agreed with Mergui, stating, “It translates to a defeatist attitude, to giving up.”
Regrettably, I must concur with Mr. Ammar. Marseille Jews should indeed keep their kippas tucked away and out of sight, since preserving life takes precedence over the Torah, and the French Jewry is in grave danger. The publications in the media do not even begin to describe what is really happening. French Jews, and the whole of the European Jewry, have been experiencing various levels of hostilities on a daily basis for a long time now. Many of them have already taken off their kippas, tucked in their Star of David necklaces, removed the mezuzahs [cased excerpts from the Torah (Old Testament)] from their doorposts, and even avoid visiting places associated with Jews. Worse yet, according to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), a staggering 77% [of Jews] do not even bother reporting abuse or harassment.
The situation in Europe has been escalating for years, but now it is becoming crystal clear: in view of the wave of radical Islamic terrorism and the recent waves of Muslim immigration to Europe, the Jews have no future there. In a 2013 televised conversation I had with the late, Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, who was then head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he said that in the current state of affairs, European Jewry has 10-20 years left.
The Israeli Foreign Office is urging European governments to increase protection of Jewish communities, but it is too little too late. Currently, Europe’s Jews have two options if they want to stay safe: Convert to Islam or run for their lives.
Before history repeats itself, France’s Jews must leave their country. As one who experienced the hardships of making Aliyah [immigration to Israel] myself, I can sympathize with their agony. It is not easy to leave behind the country you grew up in, loved, and considered your home. This is especially true of France, whose legacy of equality, justice, and separation between state and religion paved the way for the rest of the world. But I see no other option.
The Israeli Foreign Office must send out delegations that will ease the French Jewry’s absorption process in Israel. It should set up Hebrew schools and help France’s Jews find suitable employment in the Israeli job market.
And finally, to those Jewish elements in Europe trying to persuade Jews to stay in France and boast about their Judaism: remember what happened 70 years ago. Then, too, leaders of the Jewish communities urged their people to stay, and stated that no harm would come to them in Europe. But the result of their denial is written in blood in the history of our people. The only difference between then and now is that now we have a Jewish state.
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