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July 28, 2015 10:09 am

Conflicting Issues Pressure French Jews Who Want to Stay in France

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

Israeli flags were seen at the historic Paris rally against terrorism. Photo: Anica Pommeray.

Israeli flags were seen at a historic Paris rally against terrorism. Photo: Anica Pommeray.

Despite widespread reports of French Jews leaving their home country in droves over the surge in antisemitic attacks over the past several years, many remain hellbent on staying, The Daily Beast reported on Monday.

The report highlights various factors that would keep French Jews in France, and others that could spur the desire to leave. Among those are a feeling of belonging to French culture and assimilation that keep certain individuals in France.

For example, French Rabbi Stephen Berkowitz explained that his 26-year-old stepdaughter, who he described as totally assimilated to French society, are sensitive to the issues of antisemitism, but do not personally feel threatened by it enough to leave.

On the other hand, newcomer French Jewish immigrants, perhaps only in France for a few decades, from North Africa may feel particularly threatened after an attack like the one at a Jewish day school in Toulouse in 2012 that left three children dead.

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But these kinds of nuances in the Jewish community are often overlooked by mainstream media, Berkowitz said.

Thirty-four year old Simon Fleury-Schindler from Paris says although he is aware of the rise of antisemitism in France — which many blame on radicalized Muslim migrants, mainly from African countries — he feels “deeply French,” so he wants to stay.

Others, such as 30-year-old Florian Hohenberg explained that despite his and wife’s desire to remain in France, they are concerned that growing antisemitism could mean that they will have to send their children to private Jewish schools.

“Ten years from now, I don’t know if I will feel secure sending my kids to public school because maybe I will fear they will be harassed for being Jewish,” he said.

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