Dozens of French Jews immigrate to Israel after Paris attacks

Over 6,000 individuals have made aliyah from France to Jewish state since beginning of the year

A French Jewish family arrives at Ben Gurion Airport, November 16, 2015. (Daniel Bar-On)
A French Jewish family arrives at Ben Gurion Airport, November 16, 2015. (Daniel Bar-On)

Some 40 French Jews landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport Monday, joining six more individuals who made aliyah on Sunday, as the first immigrants following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more, a Jewish Agency spokesman said.

According to Avi Mayer, the Jewish Agency’s Spokesman to the International Media, dozens more immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel with the assistance of the Agency over the course of the week.

“After the attacks, people tried not to leave their homes – it was scary,” said Daniel Ventura, who arrived in Israel with his wife and two young girls, according to a press release by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which also assisted in bringing some of the Jewish immigrants. “For two years we’ve lived with insecurity and wanted to make aliyah. I would not want my children to live, learn and get married in France.”

More than 6,000 Jews have made aliyah to Israel since the beginning of the year, Mayer said.

On Sunday, some 200 people gathered under heavy guard at a Paris synagogue to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

Led by the chief rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, leaders of French Jewry and Israel’s ambassador to France were among those who assembled at the Synagogue de la Victoire on Sunday evening.

“Our people, which has been tested more than others, knows the healing power of solidarity and unity in the face of the pain of torn families, broken couples and orphaned children,” said Michel Gugenheim, the chief rabbi of Paris.

The event included a prayer for the souls of the dead and a separate prayer, led by Rabbi Moche Lewin, director of the Conference of European Rabbis, for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

Korsia said that French Jews “feel with all intensity the pain of the families touched by the tragedy and the pain of the nation in general.” He added that “the act of gathering here is perhaps more significant than the speeches.” French society, he said, “will rise up from its grief like American society rose up from the tragedy of 9/11 and like Israeli society, which never lay down for attacks.”

The ceremony was held as many other activities of Jewish institutions in France were suspended for security reasons and out of respect for the victims of the attacks that rocked Paris in what French President Francois Hollande said was an “act of war” by the Islamic State terror group.

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