Friday, November 02, 2012

Bibi in France

PM Bibi Netanyahu is visiting France.  He stood beside Pres. Hollande at the Elysee Palace and they made suitable speeches declaring goodwill and "entente cordiale."  They agreed that Iran was the major threat to western civilization and they will act to strengthen the sanctions against Iran to prevent it achieving a nuclear weapon.
But, the focus of the visit then changed as Hollande accompanied Netanyhau to Toulouse to visit the Jewish community there in the wake of the killing last March of four Jews outside the Ozar Hatorah school.  The dead were Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two children and a young girl, Miriam Monsonego (8).  The question being avoided was "is France safe for Jews?"  Hollande vowed to "relentlessly fight anti-Semitism" in France.  But, can that ever be enough.  There are five times the number of Arabs in France than Jews and many of them are from the North African former French colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.  There is overt hatred of Jews expressed throughout France by these Muslims in all walks of life, in school, on public transport and in the streets.  And the predominantly liberal-leftist climate of opinion in France that is anti-Israel only exacerbates this problem.  Jews are being attacked all the time.  The murderer of Toulouse, Mohammed Merah, who also killed three French policemen of Arab origin, had been on a training trip to Pakistan, but was not actively followed by the police.  The reason why is currently under investigation. 
There is no doubt that Hollande is sincere and that many French people are deeply disturbed by the anti-Semitic hatred expressed by the majority of French Muslims.  But, the question is, what can Hollande or any French President do about it?  They may want to stamp out attacks on Jews, but can they?   PM Netanyahu presented a viable alternative.  Without overly saying so he was showing that Israel is here as a haven for those Jews who can no longer stand the anti-Semitic climate in France.   So now there is a rivalry for Jews, between the secular life in France, tainted with anti-Semitism, and aliyah to Israel.
We see the Israeli end of that process every day, as the use of French becomes more common in Netanya, which is a mecca (appropriate word?) for the French in Israel.  I suppose it reminds them of the Cote d'Azure.  All cafes in Netanya cater to French tastes and the price of apartments is elevated by their purchases.  Even if they don't come to live here permanently, they usually buy an apartment in case they have to leave France imminently.  So there is a struggle between the pull of the Francophile secular life in France and the tolerant Jewish life in Israel.  As Hollande indicated, if all Jews choose to leave France that could spell the end of democracy in France.  He didn't say what would replace it, but everyone knows it would be a sharia Islamic State.


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