European Jewish Group Slams Netanyahu's Call for French Jews to Immigrate to Israel

Campaign, launched after Paris attacks, 'severely weakens and damages the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely wherever they are,' EJA director says.

A man holds a sign, reading 'I am Jewish,' on January 10, 2015.
A man holds a sign reading 'I am Jewish' on January 10, 2015, during a demonstration called by the Jewish Students' Union of France. AFP

The head of the largest advocate for the Jewish organizations and communities in Europe sharply criticized Israel's call for increased immigration of the Continent's Jews to Israel in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, was quoted by the website nrg.co.il as saying that he regretted that "after every anti-Semitic attack in Europe, the Israeli government issues the same statements about the importance of aliyah [immigration to Israel], rather than employ every diplomatic and informational means at its disposal to strengthen the safety of Jewish life in Europe."

NRG reported that Margolin said that Jews who have an attachment to Israel do not need this call, and they continue to emigrate to Israel in the wake of the events [like those] over the weekend in Paris. ..."

The rabbi said that "every such Israeli campaign severely weakens and damages the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely wherever they are."

The "reality is that a large majority of European Jews do not plan to emigrate to Israel," Margolin said, according to NRG.

"The Israeli government must recognize this reality and also remember the strategic importance of the Jewish communities as supporters of Israel in the countries in which they live."

Israel's government "must cease this Pavlovian reaction every time Jews in Europe are attacked," he said.

Margolin said that the EJA had "asked the interior ministers of European Union nations to approve weapons-carry permits and self-defense training for the heads of Jewish communities ... as well as for owners of businesses with substantial Jewish customer bases," NRG reported.

The EJA, based in Paris, says on its website that because of a "lack of resources, the relationships between Israel, European countries and the European Jewish Diaspora [don't] seem to be a top priority for the State of Israel."