Thousands of French Jews attended an information fair in Paris about moving to Israel amid an unprecedented spike in immigration to the Jewish state and a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.
According to the Jewish Agency, aliyah to Israel from France saw a dramatic threefold increase in January and February 2014 compared to a year prior. Some 3,280 immigrants from France arrived in Israel in 2013, compared to 1,917 in the previous year.
Sunday’s fair, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the World Zionist Organization, offered information from representatives of many Israeli organizations and institutions, including government ministries.
Over 1,000 students participated in Jewish Agency-funded Israel experience programs in the past year, the organization said, twice as many as two years before. The immigration rate for French students who enroll in the Masa Israel program, for example, stands at 70%.
The Drancy-based Bureau for National Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, a watchdog group known as BNVCA, has recorded a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in France in recent weeks, including a violent attack on a Jewish teacher and a knife attack on a Paris rabbi and his son.
Earlier this month, the French Jewish community’s watchdog organization, SPCJ, released a report that counted 423 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2013 — a 31 percent decrease from the previous year, but still higher by 8 percent than the number of incidents recorded in 2011.