|A Jewish family walks down a street in northeastern Paris, near where David Tibi works. RNS photo by Elizabeth Bryant|
January 10, 2015 - PARIS, FRANCE - Jews are fleeing terror-hit Paris because of growing anti-Semitism in France, one of Britain's most influential Jewish journalists said today.
Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, spoke out after an Islamic terrorist took six people hostage and held them captive in a Kosher supermarket in the French capital.
This afternoon police ordered all shops in a famous Jewish neighborhood in central Paris to close.
The mayor's office in Paris announced the closure of shops along the Rosiers street in Paris' Marais neighborhood, in the heart of the tourist district and less than a mile away from the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo where 12 people were killed on Wednesday.
Hours before the Jewish Sabbath, the street is usually crowded with French Jews and tourists alike.
Mr Pollard said today's terror attack in Paris, linked to the massacre at the office of Charlie Hebdo, will force more French Jews to flee the country.
Many are moving to Britain or to Israel, according to a report published in the newspaper last year.
He said the fact that a terrorist had chosen to target a Jewish store was no 'fluke'.
In a series of tweets he said: 'Every single French Jew I know has either left or is actively working out how to leave'.
|Warning: Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish |
Chronicle, says that Jews are fleeing France and
this will increase because of today's terror attack
'So, it's a fluke that the latest target is a kosher grocer, is it?
'What's going on in France - outrages that have been getting worse for years - put our antisemitism problems in perspective'.
The hostage situation in the Porte de Vincennes part of the city is ongoing today.
But amid fears the terror attack may be linked to anti-Semitism police have also demanded that shops on Rue des Rosiers, in the Jewish quarter of Paris, to close early 'as a precaution' in case of further violence.
18 months ago France had around 500,000 Jewish residents - the largest population in the EU - but this may now be below 400,000, Mr Pollard's newspaper said.
Mr Pollard said: 'It is the largest emigration of Jews anywhere since the war. That's a simple fact.
Last summer the new Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, admitted there was a mass exodus of Jews leaving the country for the UK, other parts of Europe, Israel and North America.
Mr Korsia said this was a 'warning signal' for France.
He said: 'Jews have been killed and there were the shootings in Toulouse and in Brussels. In general, Jews feel vulnerable in our society.
'The Jews who were murdered were targeted specifically because they were Jewish.
'This means France hasn't found the words and actions necessary to reassure them.'
Joel Mergui, lay chairman of the National Union of French Synagogues, added: 'At some synagogues, whole benches are suddenly empty.'
Strasbourg-born banker Myriam Amsellem left France for London because the UK is 'safer and freer' than her home country, where she claims Jewish traditions were stopped.
She told the Jewish Chronicle last year: 'We feel a lot more comfortable here. I look at France now and I know I would not want to be there.'
Today police across Britain were stepping up security in Jewish areas after the terror outrage in France, a community body said.
The Community Security Trust (CST), which provides security advice to Britain's estimated 260,000 Jews, said police in London and Manchester in northern England had agreed to increase patrols at synagogues and other venues over the next days.
'There is currently no known link to the UK, but CST is in continuing contact with police and government, and there will be increased policing in Jewish neighbourhoods for this weekend's Sabbath,' the trust said on its website.
Last July, the CST said anti-Semitic incidents in Britain had risen amid fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Gaza. - Daily Mail.