Alarmed by anti-Semitism, French Jews consider flight

“I am French, born in Paris, says Salome Roussel. “I’m thinking about moving to Israel, because French people are more and more against Jews. They say we are a lobby, that we are the masters of the world, and it’s not so!”

Roussel, 38, is not alone. Growing numbers of French Jews are not just thinking about starting a new life in Israel: Record numbers of them are taking action. Last year 3,120 French Jews moved to Israel, according to the Israeli Immigration Ministry, a jump of 63 percent on the previous year. They even outnumbered US immigrants to Israel.

Anti-Semitism and poor economic prospects were the most cited reasons for leaving.

Around half a million Jews live in France, so those 3,120 only make a tiny dent in the population. But they are indicative of a “bad climate for Jews in France” propagated by extremists, Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), told France Info.

Though they make up only 1% of the French population, Jews are the object of 40% of hate crimes. Figures released recently by the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ), which logs anti-Jewish acts of aggression, show that Jews are far more likely than anyone else in France to be the objects of verbal abuse or harassment. The SPCJ logged 423 anti-Semitic acts, 318 “threats,” 49 acts of violence, 52 acts of vandalism, 3 arson attacks and one attempted homicide last year…