A leader of a small Jewish community in central France is advertising his city as an alternative for Parisian coreligionists contemplating emigrating to Israel due to anti-Semitism.
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Charley Daian, the president of the Consistoire of the Jewish community of Limoges, made the plea earlier this week in an ad and in an interview with the news site lepopulaire.fr.
“We’re not Zionists, we are French,” said Daian, who heads the local branch of the organization responsible for providing religious services to French Jewish communities and individuals.
“One should not join Israel because of fear but out as a calling,” he told the news site.
In the ad, Daian showcased his city as a viable alternative to life in and around Paris, where anti-Semitic attacks have doubled last year over 2013 to become a daily reality. There are 80 Jewish families in Limoges.
“A small, warm and very lovely community would be happy to welcome in its large and beautiful synagogue Jewish families wishing to flee the Paris region and its suburbs with their rampant anti-Semitic violence,” the ad reads. The Jewish community of Limoges is “by contrast calm, of pleasant population in the center of France, only three hours from Paris.”
The ad tells prospective arrivals that the Consistoire “will work to facilitate your installation and integration.”
Some 350,000 out of France’s Jewish population of approximately half a million live in the Paris region.
France last year became for the first time Israel’s largest source of newcomers, with the arrival of more than 7,000 immigrants, a threefold increase over the 2011 figure for Jewish immigration, or aliyah, from that country. The Jewish Agency is anticipating the arrival this year of 10,000 to 15,000 newcomers.