A new survey reveals that nearly three quarters of French Jews are considering leaving the country. JTA reports that 74 percent of the 3,833 French Jews polled by Paris’ Siona organization of Sephardic French Jews said they had considered emigrating. Their responses present a fairly bleak portrait of the contemporary reality for France’s Jewish community.
Of the 74.2 percent of respondents who said they are considering leaving, 29.9 percent cited anti-Semitism. Another 24.4 cited their desire to “preserve their Judaism,” while 12.4 percent said they were attracted by other countries. “Economic considerations” was cited by 7.5 percent of the respondents.
In total, 95.2 percent of all respondents to the online survey conducted by Siona from April 17 to May 16 said they viewed anti-Semitism as “very worrisome” or “worrisome.”
Jews in France aren’t just considering leaving—they’re doing so in droves, often to Israel. In December we reported a 63 percent increase in aliyah rates from France during 2013, with 3,120 emigres arriving in Israel from France, compared to 1,916 in 2012.
It’s not entirely surprising. Just last week a Jewish woman was attacked at a bus stop in Paris’ Montmartre district by an assailant who called her a “dirty Jewess” and shook the stroller her 6-month-old child was in. Meanwhile in January, demonstrators at an anti-government protest in Paris yelled “Jew, France is not yours,” seemingly connecting their political dissatisfaction with the country’s Jewish population.
All in all, it’s been a rough six months in France, and it’s not looking like it’s getting better anytime soon.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.