‘Jews have no future in France,’ warns Paris rabbi

Chief rabbi of Paris Grand Synagogue calls on French Jews to immigrate to Israel after vote points to rise of far-left and far-right parties.

By World Israel News Staff

The French Jewish community has no future in France, a prominent local rabbi said this week, advising Jews to emigrate to Israel.

With some 442,000 estimated members, France’s Jewish community is the third largest on earth after Israel and the United States, made up primarily of emigres from North Africa and their descendents, with a smaller number of Ashkenazi Jews.

Yet the population has been in a long if slow decline; after peaking in the 1970s at approximately 600,000, emigration and intermarriage have shrank France’s Jewish population by over one-quarter in half a century.

The Second Intifada sparked a wave of migration to Israel, as have subsequent conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians, resulting in outbreaks of antisemitic violence in France from elements in the country’s rapidly growing Muslim population.

Now, after Sunday’s vote was dominated by the New Popular Front alliance of far-left parties and the stridently nationalistic, Eurosceptic National Rally party, a top French-Jewish religious leader is publicly calling on the republic’s Jewish population to emigrate en masse to Israel “or a more secure country.”

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On Monday, Rabbi Moshe Sebbag, chief rabbi of the Grand Synagogue of Paris, told The Jerusalem Post that the time has come for French Jews to leave the country.

“It is clear today that there is no future for Jews in France,” Rabbi Sebbag said, despite the high-level of identification he acknowledged members of the community feel with France. “I tell everyone who is young to go to Israel or a more secure country.”

“Every country has its history, and its history is part of its identity. The moment you feel part of a country’s history, it doesn’t become another country’s history. After generations, the French Jews are very French and feel very French.”

But France’s increasingly polarized political climate, Rabbi Sebbag lamented, has left Jews isolated by two extremes he said both evinced a loathing for his community.

“The Jews are in the middle because they don’t know who hates them more.”