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The real reason Bibi wants French Jews to move to Israel

By calling on France’s Jews to move to Israel, Netanyahu is promoting a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation and no Palestinian people. There are only Jews and radical Muslims. 

Illustrative photo of a French Jew (Photo by ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of a French Jew. (Photo by ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

The terror attacks in France have caused Netanyahu to, once again, conflate his role as prime minister with his imaginary role as supreme leader of the Jewish people, and call on the Jews of France to immigrate to Israel.

Strange. The leader of a country that is constantly in a state of war, and that every few years actually goes to war, is imploring France’s Jews to leave their country in the wake of two terrorist attacks (one of which was not directed at a Jewish target), and move to Israel. Even if we ignore the downright chutzpah of his demand vis-a-vis the French government (try imagining a leader of a Western state calling on Israelis to immigrate to his country because of the security situation in Israel), no one doubts that French Jewish immigrants will be in much greater danger living in Israel. Perhaps our foreign minister would do well to update Netanyahu on the travel warnings issued fairly often for our country?

I doubt that Netanyahu’s suggestion to France’s Jews is enticing when considering the economy: while the poverty level in Israel has grown to 23.5 percent, France has been able to reduce poverty to around six percent. Netanyahu is inviting French Jews to immigrant to a place where every third child lives in poverty – where the poverty level is almost four times that of their home country.

But beyond matters of security and economy, immigration of any kind is an extremely delicate process – both socially and psychologically. In fact, it is so delicate that I cannot fathom how glibly Netanyahu has allowed himself to call on people to leave their home. This week marks 36 years since my family’s immigration to Israel from Iran. According to Israeli parameters, we are seen as a successful aliyah story. However, not a day goes by in which I’m not painfully aware of how we were torn from our home, from our language, our most intimate cultural codes — and how those deep scars remain with my parents to this day. How dense does one have to be to arrogantly call on people to just cut off their past?

On the face of it, Netanyahu’s call is so baseless that it forces us to look for the real incentive being offered to France’s Jews. What could possibly convince them to leave and move to a country facing poverty, war and corruption? Why move to a country that is being torn apart by internal conflict – one that is seen as a pariah in the eyes of a growing number of countries around the world? Why move to country whose belligerent actions are partially responsible for the growing lack of security among Jewish communities in Europe and other places?

I can think of one incentive alone: the privilege of formally being placed above the Muslim other. To have the right to live in a country that prefers you simply because you are Jewish. And even if you have never set foot here, this state will grant you privileges over its non-Jewish residents who have lived here for generations. Netanyahu is actually saying: in France you are a weak Jew – vulnerable and under attack. The Israeli experience will provide you with a uniform and a flag, in whose name you can rule as masters.

Considering the vulnerable and anxiety-ridden situation of the Jewish community in France, this is indeed tempting.

Muslim presence in Europe, and the never-ending discussions surrounding its potential dangers, play right into the hands of Netanyahu, who seeks to strengthen the simplistic worldview that puts Jews in the position of eternal victim – whether of new-old anti-Semitism or radical Islam. Strengthening this perspective serves Netanyahu in two ways: when he speaks directly to the Jews of France (the prime minister is surely not blind to the political potential of securing their votes as future citizens of his country), as well as in the local context. There is nothing more effective for Bibi than lumping together all the Jews in the world and presenting them as a united front against “the threat of radical Islam,” thus conflating Islamic State, Hamas and Iran. This helps Netanyahu promote a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation, no Palestinian people and no blatant disregard for human rights. There are only Jews and Muslims. Turns out we look a lot better fighting a religious war than we do running an occupation.

This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    1. Tomer

      Only 2 terrorist attacks in France?

      Gee, I suppose you are not forgetting:
      the breaking & burglary of a jewish couple the other week when the assailant shouted antisemitic insults whilst he raped the woman.

      Then there’s the myrid phycical attacks on Synagogues, Jewish shops and individual Jews all over France for the last few years – mostly of them comitted by an ethnic minority whose name we will leave out for political correct reasons.

      Then there’s that attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels as well as the antisemitic murder in Toulouse.

      Aliyah is going UP and this is the only the beginning of the process.

      Reply to Comment
    2. And what process is that Tomer – the continued ethnic cleansing or do you have even more sinister plans for a population that is not responsible for these crimes in France or those that took place all over Europe 70 years ago?

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        The process of which Tomer is speaking about is Aliyah. Last year 7,000 French Jews went UP to Israel. This year that figure is expected to be 10,000. Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency and one of the million plus Soviet Jews who made Aliyah UP to Israel, says that he expects 250,000 French Jews to made Aliyah UP to Israel in the next two decades.

        Sharansky notes that Jewry’s exodus from Europe had been going on for many years. Sharansky says:

        “We’re not building our aliyah strategy on tragic events. We’re building it on the fact that there is this place in the world called Europe, where Jews are feeling increasingly uncomfortable,”

        Israel is very important for Jews who do not wish to assimilate but to retain their Jewish culture and heritage. This is becoming harder and harder to do in Europe where Jews in many places hide their Jewishness.

        It was just this past summer that Jews and Jewish Synagogues were attacked by French mobs reminding that Jews and their children are not safe in France. If French Jews desire they will always have the option to come UP to Israel.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Tomer

      The process is the collapse of the US dollar.

      The US economy has an annual GDP of $17 Trillion yet total DEBT including UNFUNDED LIABILITIES now stand at $100 Trillion. Even by fixing interest rates to almost 0, the DEBT keeps growing from year to year.

      The bottom line is that at some point over the next 5 -6 years, America will undergo either:
      1. Hyperinflation
      2. Default
      3. a combination of the above.

      This means riots in American streets. This will also happen to an extent in countries exhibiting high debt levels. eg. Japan, UK , Italy.

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        Be careful what you wish for Fascist, when we go down the tubes, where will you get your bunker busters and spare parts from when you run out once again ?

        Next up the Samson Option: the Israeli policy To blow themselves and the ME up with their 200 nukes if they were to lose a war.

        Talk about a suicide bomber mentality….

        Tomer and his pea brain…

        And yet ANOTHER reason why I am Ashamed to be Jewish.

        Reply to Comment
        • Phil Fumble

          Orly, I respect your work and what you do is important

          Having said that, this,piece in particular is a cynical way to push your agenda. People in France are in danger, especially living openly,as Jews. To infer that moving to Israel gives their children a 1-in-three chance of living in poverty is absurd and a gross betrayal do the facts. You are capable of much better advocacy.

          Reply to Comment
      • Well Tomer, looks like X thinks you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about and stepped in to answer my question to you. Wasn’t that nice of him? Ka-Ching!

        Reply to Comment
    4. Tomer

      Well, whe America sinks, will have to do without the $3 billion of US aid. That’s about 1% of Israel’s $300 billion GDP.

      I agree with Moshe Feiglin, we should not take that money from the US, so they can be spend it on Americans who need it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, right

        Wrong figure.

        Don’t measure that $3billion against the county’s GDP, measure it against the Israeli Goverment budget

        Why? Because if that money is not forthcoming then a $3billion hole is blown in Bibi’s budget, and he’d have to find some way of covering it.

        And he can’t. There is simply nowhere else he can get that money from, and so the IDF’s pool of weapons would have to shrink – by $3billion

        Honestly, Timer, wake up.

        Reply to Comment
        • TOMER

          Israel’s defence budget is overbloated. Salaries for Israeli officers are ALOT HIGHER than in the US Army. Too much money is spent on sophisticated weaponry in order to minimise arab casualties.

          In anycase, the bank of Israel has $90 BILLION in reserve. Debt to GDP is 65% and falling each year. Personal credit card debt is virtually zero. There is no tuition fee debt. The banks are solid and not 1 agora was needed to bail any of them out in 2008.

          The old jokes about the Israeli economy being an inefficient socialist basketcase are tales from the 1980s.

          Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            And….. in amongst those unsubstantiated “facts” one thing is missing in Tomer’s nonsense: the size of the Israeli govt budget.

            We know that $3billion of that budget comes via a gift voucher from Uncle Sam, redeemable at any good US Merchant of Death.

            But how big is the Israeli Govt budget, Tomer?

            Because if you know that then you’d know how difficult it would be to cover the loss of that $3billion.

            So, over to you Tomer….

            Reply to Comment
    5. Eric

      Orly – this kind of “journalism” is complete garbage. 23.5% of Israel lives in poverty. Have you asked whom 80%+ of these people are? The ultra Orthodox and the Israeli Arabs – both of who CHOOSE not to work. A LARGE majority lives in poverty by choice. But thanks for portraying a situation that you know of in a negative light. Journalism at its best right?

      Reply to Comment
    6. turtle of doom

      Interestingly, many young Muslims join the French army…

      …end do not complain about having to fight Islamic extremists.

      France is a country where you are citizen first, and the question if you are Jewish, Muslim, Catholic or Protestant comes second.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kolumn4

      Perhaps the French Jews wish to move to a country where the protection of Jews takes precedence over good relations with Islamic fundamentalists. Perhaps the French Jews wish to move to a country where they will feel welcome rather than despised and persecuted.

      50% of all racist attacks in France last year were against 1% of the population – Jews. Pretty much all Jews in France have experienced anti-semitic incidents. Perhaps they would prefer to be in a country where anti-semitism is so foreign that most Israeli Jews can’t even properly define it. Where they can walk around in any city with a skullcap and not be afraid of being punched, spit on, or killed?

      You know? Your little speech made sense 10 years ago when Sharon called for Jews to make aliyah and was laughed at in France including among French Jews. Now they stopped laughing and started moving to Israel. But then again, you know better, right?

      Reply to Comment
      • turtle of doom

        If you know something about statistics, “50% of all racist attacks in France last year were against 1% of the population – Jews” is not surprising at all.

        Racist attacks always hit the smallest minority the hardest.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn4

          I am sure you can find even smaller minorities if you wanted to. Your comment is meaningless.

          Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Funny you mention that. They’d also be moving to a country where Christian clerics in Jerusalem can not walk down the street without fear of being punched and spat upon by the master race. Looks like Orly Noy is right: “The Israeli experience will provide you with a uniform and a flag, in whose name you can rule as masters.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Phil Fumble

          Brian, you sick, sadist, ignoramus; there is no comparison in scope sorry magnitude between the attacks on clerics in Jerusalem and deadly attacks on Jews in France.
          What are you trying to prove?

          And the master race stuff is mere hatred. No.purpose for that talk.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn4

          I am not particularly sure why Jews should be ashamed to have their own uniform, flag, and country, especially when others fail to protect them. Nor am I particularly ashamed that among the Jews there too are racists. We are after all human.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            As you’ve made clear to us, you believe it is not a national Israel flag but an ethnic Jewish flag, and ethnic Jews have exclusive right to the holy land.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            And that makes you a fascist with a race doctrine. Yes human, all too human.

            Reply to Comment
          • Phil Fumble

            Brian, you need to apologize

            Accepting that racism is part of human nature amd that rascists exist(ed) across *all* society along the history of civilization does not make one a fascist with a racist doctrine (whatever the bloody hell that is).

            Now apologize and stop being a whiney priss.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian


            “In Israel, the religious factor strengthens the national singularity. It’s not a matter of belief, but of identity; religion bolsters your distinctive identity. It’s essential to understand that without this radical nationalism there is no fascism. I also distinguish between fascism and Nazism, because fascism does not necessarily carry a race doctrine. Let me put it in no uncertain terms: Fascism is a war against enlightenment and against universal values; Nazism was a war against the human race.”



            “it would be hard to argue that Zionism is not at its core based on a Jewish religious belief that Israel is the holy land, that it is the homeland of the Jewish people, and that the Jews have an exclusive right to it. Likewise Zionism uses the ambiguous nature of the Judaic definition of Jews to support its definition of Jews as an ethnic group or a nation and not just a religious group.”

            Reply to Comment
          • C.C. DeVille

            Is Sternhell the arbiter of,these matters?

            I doubt you even understand what you are saying. I am,struggling to see how,the two points are incompatible.

            Going forward, if you want to engage in productive dialogue, you need to use your own words. This copying and pasting the thoughts of,others, often with no,context is done.

            By the way, Mr. Fumble has jury duty today and asked me to relay this to you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            I can’t help you with your mental limitations. Please seek help through the appropriate channels.

            Reply to Comment
          • C.C. DeVille

            Brian, I,would sooner ask Michael,Brown for tips on how to conduct oneself in front of the Police before asking you for any sort of intellectual help.

            You have no original thought. Everything someone provides you with a challenging point, you find some obscure source and expect your interlocker to read it.

            Where are you on the autism spectrum? Or perhaps you are as dumb as a rock.

            Reply to Comment
      • Sijepuis

        50% of all racist attacks in France last year were against 1% of the population – Jews. Pretty much all Jews in France have experienced anti-semitic incidents.

        Please provide some credible, concrete evidence for this assertion.

        The CRIF – Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France – is a very powerful organization which, like AIPAC in the US, does an excellent job of lobbying French legislators and the media to ensure a preferred, unique status for the protection of the French Jewish population and culture in this country.

        There is also, however, the LDG – Ligue de defense des Juifs – which has a decades-long, tarnished reputation of having engaged in widespread, false flag violence by way of perpetuating the depiction of French Jews as eternal ‘victims of terror’.

        In point of fact, French Jews constitute the most fiercely protected ethnicity in France. Each and every successive French government, most recently those of Sarkozy and Hollande, have dedicated large sums of public money to additional police protection of French Jews and Jewish communities!

        Following the recent events in Paris, the Hollande government has put into action close to 5,000 additional police special operations personnel, specifically to protect 700 Jewish schools all across France.

        With that in mind, please provide concrete evidence for your allegations that French Jews suffer from discrimination, “anti-semitic incidents”, and lack state protection.

        Give it a go. Provide some reliable, real evidence for your claims.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tomer

          Within the next 10 years, all French Jews will no longer be living there. Most will be in Israel. So there will be no Jewish conspirators ‘pulling strings behind the scenes’ to get ‘special’ protection from the French State.

          So you should be happy by that.

          I hope that Ms Le Pen and her right wing radicals have fun fighting the jihadis in a demographically-unstable economically-collapsing France.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn4

          The numbers are from the “Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme” which is a French governmental body that records racist acts. I read about them in that filthy Zionist rag known as The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/jan/15/-sp-threat-to-france-jews

          Hahahaha. I gotta tell you that I love your reaction. So what you are saying is that the Jews are so safe in France that they require massive government protection for their institutions? Just bloody brilliant on your part. And the government is sending another 5,000 personnel to provide more protection with no relation to the attack on a Jewish store that killed 4 Jews? It must be incidental. I must instead supply you with evidence about “anti-Semitic incidents” in France as if the “recent events” are in themselves not evidence thereof? Absurd. Now you might want to argue that France is trying to defend the Jews, and I’ll grant you that attempts are being made, but clearly they are massively failing in actually doing so given how many Jews are packing up and leaving France to go to Israel, Canada and the US.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Bruce Gould

      It’s more complicated: “Don’t Blame The Israeli Palestinian Conflict For Muslim Anti Semitism In France”:



      “Mandel offers new perspectives on the factors at play in deteriorating Jewish-Muslim interactions. She challenges theories that concentrate on the Middle East and argues that they obscure dynamics in France that have more directly influenced the situation. This concise account, which highlights instances of interethnic cooperation, is chronologically organized and underscores how the legacy of French colonialism created separate paths for the thousands of North African Muslims and Jews that settled in France because of decolonization.”

      Reply to Comment
    9. Victor Arajs

      Jews will only be safe after they evacuate stolen Palestine and return to Brooklyn. Orly, I congratulate you on your insights

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Looks like the rightists exhausted their ammo so they brought out “Victor.” When all else is lost, smear the left.

        Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Hey Baruch how’re they gonna be safe in Brooklyn from Judith Butler’s soldiers and the armies of the global left? Maybe the Utah-Nevada desert is best, no?

        Reply to Comment
    10. Orly, your post was excellent, in particular the last paragraph. Only a snake oil salesman like Netanyahu would use a tragedy as a way to continue settlement construction and continued theft of Palestinian land.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sheikh Yahudi

      Orly, what if Bibi’s worldview accurate and yours isn’t? Does that possibility ever enter your mind? What if there is indeed a connection between Hamas, Hizbullah, Boko Haram and the Islamic State? What is Bibi to do? Perhaps, it’s his job to step up and lead when so many others are failing to lead?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Ben Zakkai

      Bang-on analysis, Orly. The part about the dubious economic prospects to be faced here by new French olim reminded me of an old joke among American olim: Q: How do you become a millionaire in Israel? A: Bring two million.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Bryan

      Netanyahu places the selfish interests of Israel above the security and stability of world Jewish communities. He’s doing what he’s done before – to welcome and even encourage any growth of anti-Semitism in Europe.

      According to the Guardian: “The Israeli prime minister’s appeal, however, was quickly criticised by the head of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who said that it risked “severely weakening and damaging the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely wherever they are”.

      Former Israel justice minster Tzipi Livni, who is running against Netanyahu in elections on 17 March, was also critical, telling secondary school students during a meeting on Sunday that Jews should come to Israel because they are “Zionists” and “not because it is a safe haven” adding that the call would not increase the safety of European Jews.”

      The Israeli ambassador to France should be given a swift dressing down for his prime minister’s unwarranted intervention in the internal affairs of a close ally.

      Reply to Comment
      • Phil Fumble

        “…Israeli ambassador to France should be given a swift dressing down for his prime ….”

        Brian, keep your fantasies out of this

        Reply to Comment
      • Phil Fumble

        Bryan, to extract the idea that Netanyahu encourages and welcomes anti-Semitism from the article you reference is sickening and absurd. You also took selective pieces of the article to construct a nonsensical story.

        You really should be ashamed old man.

        Reply to Comment
      • Yvette

        Ah, mon hypocrite lecteur, but we have seen your “activism” all over and over and over and over and so it is quite impossible to take you seriously.

        Reply to Comment
    14. Because he needs more soldiers, that’s why! As soon as French jews immigrate back to Israel and become official Israeli citizens then military service becomes mandatory. And most likely French jews would get dual citizenship which would put France in a vulnerable political position where they would have to protect their own citizens living in Israel which also means France would have to side with and help defend Israel. It would be the perfect set up for Netanyahu and his war hungry cronies!

      Reply to Comment
    15. ayman

      Who started the First World War?
      not Muslims?
      Who started the Second World War?
      not Muslims!
      Killed about 20 million indigenous Australians?
      not Muslims!
      Who fired the nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
      not Muslims!
      The killing of more than 100 million Indian red in North America?
      not Muslims!
      The killing of more than 50 million Indian red in South America?
      not Muslims!
      Of enslaved more than 180 million Africans and threw 88% of those who were killed in the Atlantic Ocean?
      not Muslims!
      No they are not Muslims!
      First, you must define the term terrorism!
      If the work of non-Muslims is a crime .. But if the Muslims the same work is terrorism!
      So we must define our principles and then discuss this topic!
      I am proud that I am a Muslim.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ayman, you’re post seems an awful lot like the right wingnuts here. Sorry, I guess it’s all the !!!! on every line.

        Reply to Comment
      • C.C. DeVille

        Be proud!
        Just own up.

        Reply to Comment
    16. Bar

      The reason Netanyahu wants French Jews to move to Israel is that he’s a Zionist.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Mikesailor

      The reason Bibi wants French Jews to move to Israel is because he, and Zionism, have run out of ideas. Why should French Jews move to Israel? The weather? The wish to be involved in a stupid war every few years? The ability to loive in a settlement and steal from, and brutalize, defenceless Palestinians

      Reply to Comment
    18. Mikesailor

      To repeat: Why should French Jews move to Israel? It seems that whenever Zionists get stuck, when the rest of the world catches on to their criminality, the Zionists have one last card to play: call the rest of the world “antisemitic” and gin up the fear of Jews against all outsiders. This “anti-assimilationism” is an integral part of Zionism for without it Zionism would have no reason to exist at all. Funny how the French Jews, after the Dreyfuss affair, rejected Zionism and, in effect, told Herzl to get lost. But now, every act wherein a Jews is a victim is somehow “antisemitic”. Yet every act wherein a Jew is the perpetrator is somehow that Jews’s fault alone, akthough the mere accusation that a Jews is not the victim should arouse the “tribalism” streak and the mere act of accusation is therefore “antisemitic”. So get Bibi, the uninvited “King of the Jews” to come to your country and divide the population by ethnicity. The dead in the grocery were not Frenchman but Jews under the Zionist formulation. And Jews should get special treatment and special mourning for they stand apart from the rest of the dead. Show how the French are secretly Muslim..as are the Irish, Icelanders and everyone else who proclaims the Zionist “philosophy” is racist and brutal at its core. And push immigration or “aliyah” as the secret weapon to be used by frightened French Jews, at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians. And then wonder why the rest of the world is becoming less enamoured of the “Jewish” state whether or not useful idiots like the Paris killers murder innocents. For far to many innocents are killed by the supposed “eternal victims” as well.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Louis Sohn

      Could be he’s just offering a safe haven. There has been a lot of attacks against Jews in France.

      Reply to Comment
      • Dis

        And more attacks on Muslims but you dont see them leaving much less insulting France. French Jews are FRENCH first – period. They love France, their love is French and they are apart of French Culture. Israel trying to rob the world is typical Zionism.

        Reply to Comment
    20. naava

      As someone whom has immigrated to Israel from USA in 1992….it is not an easy place to live or to integrate. Leave people to decide where they want to live.

      Reply to Comment
      • C.C. DeVille

        I think that BiBi’s audience will do their own due diligence and not merely go along with the suggestion without thinking through the implications. It is, after all, a pretty significant decision.

        I admire your decision and sympathize that some aspects were not easy.

        Given that many French Jews already have networks of family and friends there and that that a good number share North Africsn cultural ties with a large segment of Israel, perhaps it will be easier for them to transition. Additionally, many of the resent French immigrants continue to own businesses in France or commute back to their current jobs.

        Reply to Comment
    21. Average American

      I think the thing that alot of people object to is not whether Jews move or not, but the idea that as more Jews move to Israel, other people should of course move out of the way to make room for Jews. This is not only ultimate arrogance but also racial lebensraum. The last racial lebensraum (Aryan) was punished. Why is this one (Jewish) okay?

      Reply to Comment
      • C.C. DeVille

        Questions for you:

        1) if the immigration can be accompanied without requiring anyone else to move agains their wishes, would you and “alot of people” be OK with that process?

        2). Do you genually feel that the Israeli experience is both similar and unique among anything else to what the Nazis did in WWII? And that the Jewish people should be punished?

        Thanks in advance!

        Reply to Comment
    22. Rabbi Happyman

      The author omits one undeniable fact. That The Holy Torah prophesies and recommends that Jews come to the Promised Land from all corners of The Earth.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Michael

      I find that many critics such as Obama get mad at Netanyahu because he has a pair and they don’t. Also, he has to have them for his country to survive and all they have to do is spout their political bull.

      The author also just can’t quite get it why Jews would want to immigrate to Israel from “safe” France. It is because they would rather brave and face the enemy as opposed to dying the death of a thousand cuts.

      Reply to Comment
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