The Jewish community of France – the third largest in the world – remains robust
despite the deadly attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse earlier this year, that
country’s ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot, told a Knesset panel on
Speaking to the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora
Committee, Bigot said the shooting carried out by a French national with links
to al-Qaida has not managed to undermine the overall sense of security that the
roughly 600,000 Jews in his country feel. Nonetheless, he said, his government
has increased spending on securing Jewish institutions in response to the murder
of the three Jewish children and a Jewish teacher.
“We have invested
500,000 euro to bolster security of Jewish institutions in the country,” he
MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor), who participated in the debate, said
diplomatic relations between the Jewish State and France were better than
“Let there be no misunderstanding, France is not on trial here
today,” said the former journalist, who was once a correspondent for Haaretz in
“The relationship between Israel and France has never been better,
and you can ask your own prime minister if you like. The current French
government has the largest Jewish representation ever, is that not true
Mr. Ambassador?” “Absolutely,” responded Bigot.
unofficial inquiry commissioned by the Knesset committee claimed the number of
violent anti-Semitic incidents in France since the March attack has increased by
about 50 percent.
According to the data presented by MK Danny Danon
(Likud), there were 274 such cases in the first half of 2012 in comparison to
179 during the same period last year.
The firebrand legislator who heads
the committee called the rise in recorded anti-Semitic incidents
“You are responsible for quashing anti-Semitism in your
country,” Danon said. “Don’t let violence against Jews rear its head – stop
anti-Semitism before it’s too late.”
During the hearing, a Jewish
immigrant from France complained about the experience he had living in his
country of birth.
“There are many things that won’t fit into any document
and they are the constant remarks, the teasing, the jokes," he said.
one shows they are Jewish they will sooner or later be on the receiving end [of
such an experience].”
If anti-Semitism in France has risen dramatically,
however, it has yet to have any effect on the rate of Jewish immigration to
Israel. A Jewish Agency for Israel official said aliya was
“There were no changes from January until June, about 500
Jewish immigrants,” said an official.
“We think in 2012 there will be the
same number of French Jews. French Jews do not come here to escape anything,
they come here by choice.”