French Jewish exodus: ‘In two months we’ll be called filthy Jews again’

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/16/french-jews-israel-exodus-felix-freoa

After the attack on the kosher supermarket, Félix Freoa and his family have brought forward their departure from Paris

in Paris
Friday 16 January 2015

Félix Freoa was already intending to emigrate to Israel with his wife and four children in March or April. He and his family have been planning the move for the last couple of years. But after Friday’s deadly hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket they know well, they could wait no longer, and brought forward their departure. “That afternoon, we applied to go next month,” said Félix.

Freoa, 41, made his weekly visit to the kosher bakery next to the Hyper Cacher supermarket “about five minutes before” the hostage taking. “It’sthe first time we’ve been affected personally by an antisemitic attack,” he said. Like other members of the French Jewish community, he was shocked by past attacks such as the 2010 rampage by jihadist Mohamed Merad, who targeted a Jewish school.

“Toulouse was on the television,” he said, referring to the Merad attacks. “But this was real, concrete.” The Freoas only live a few minutes by car from Porte de Vincennes, in Charenton-le-Pont. “I’m worried for my children,” said Freoa. All four of them attend Jewish schools.

 A variety of reasons convinced Freoa to make the aliyah, as Jewish emigration is known. “There’s the weather and the cheaper cost of living in Israel. But every time there’s unrest in the Middle East, it has an effect in France.” Last July, when Israel’s war on Gaza spilled on to French streets, some protesters reportedly cried, “Death to Jews.” “When I went to buy cigarettes, I felt the tension with Muslims,” said Freoa.

He believes his two sons, aged 9 and 3, and two daughters, aged 7 and 6, are looking forward to the move to a beachside house in Agamin near Netanya. “We’ve told them it’s a kind of holiday.”

He and his wife have a sales business and he is confident that he can carry on in Israel. “With a computer and a phone, I’ll be fine – I can work anywhere,” he says. He played down the difficulties of moving to Israel: “We know what to expect. The Israelis are tough, they’re raw. It’s not easy. But the main thing is that our kids are OK.”

Freoa, a TV fan, added: “Aliyah has got much easier over the past 10 years. Now they’ve got French TV in Israel.”

“I’m not super-religious, but France has changed. We keep to ourselves a bit, we spend time with Jewish friends, and people are scared. We don’t feel safe like before.” He says a lot of his Jewish friends are considering emigrating now.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/16/french-jews-israel-exodus-felix-freoa

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