French Jews ponder their future amid increasing hate

As morning rises on the Sabbath, and with numerous synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout France under heavy security, many French Jews say they feel in more danger than ever in their homeland in the face of burgeoning anti-Semitism.

“It is impossible to live like this,” Daniel Corcos, a Jewish Parisian who frequents the kosher shop targeted by terrorists on Friday tells the Wall Street Journal.

“The Jew isn’t safe in France,” he says. “You go to buy food, and you’re dead.”

He adds: “If you think a lot of Jews left France last year, this year the number is going to be five times higher.”

The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)
The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)

A man identified as T. Meyer tells WSJ he was not surprised by the attacks.

“There are too many crazy people, and I don’t think this will stop. I don’t have much hope that France will take the required forceful measures of finding and kicking out the extremists. France isn’t strong enough to (do) something like that.”

Sacha Reingewirtz, the president of the French Jewish Student Union, tells USA Today France had become unsafe for anyone outwardly identifying as Jewish.

“What the government is doing to protect us is not enough. I refuse to have Jews here living behind walls in fear of their lives,” he says. “We need more than a security plan but an educational plan to fight against stereotypes.”

The BBC’s Katie Razzall also reports on the climate of fear in the Jewish community, noting that many were unwilling to be interviewed on camera, fearing for their safety.

“From conversations we’ve had it’s clear that around the Sabbath tables tonight they’re asking whether France is still a place they can call home,” she says.