Paris, the capital of freedom. The symbol of democracy & liberality came under a great attack which never happened before. Those attacks rapidly became a symbol of the ultimate violation of the ‘enlightened liberal free World’, and gave most of us in the western part of the world, the feeling that we are all under attack.

Of course, this is all open to different interpretations, and in the last few days, we could all read and hear different opinions.

In the Israeli media, we could also see how those attacks influenced different people with completely contradicting political views and agenda. But, without any exception, everybody in Israel condemned this horrible terror attack and the brutal murder of so many innocent people. Unfortunately, the Israeli society and public have quite an experience with terror attacks, and everybody is very upset that this now also happens in Europe.

The debate in Israel about the events in Paris was heating up, when the prime minister and other politicians declared publicly that the Diasporas Jews of Europe and particularly France must immigrate to Israel, as Israel must be the safest place for them to live. Is that really so?

It is already since the first ‘Pogroms’ in Russia 1905, that Jews around the world started planning migrations to the ‘Holy-land’. (Back then under Ottoman & later British authority) World War II and the Holocaust were the final shock that sent masses of Jews to a freshly forming Jewish state that soon became Israel. The ‘fear-motivated’ migration was constantly fed by the anti-Semitism around the world and in parallel, encouraged by the Zionist movement.

There is no doubt that it doesn’t feel safe today to live in Europe (and I also feel it myself as a Jewish Israeli woman who lives abroad) and yet, is this the solution against terror? Should we all just run away? The way I see it, if we do that, if the French Jews will all immigrate to Israel, it will be just like surrendering to terrorism.

Can you imagine a scenario like that? A massive Jewish escape from Europe to Israel? Erasing 2000 years of Jewish presence and history in Europe?

It was not without reason, that the French prime minister said last week that, ‘France is not France without its Jewish community’, and he is right, Israel is also not Israel without the Diaspora Jews. What kind of message are the Israeli leaders trying to send to the world? That France cannot handle the terror? This is not a very good timing, and the way I see it, the state of Israel should simply support France in its difficult moment.

A lot of criticism was heard in the Israeli media and public about the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu was insisting to arrive in Paris, together with other leaders from around the world, though his presence, (as inevitable as it is) was problematic for some people.

A French TV crew caught Netanyahu in a few awkward minutes while he was standing completely exposed in the street, waiting for the bus to drive him and his expedition to the memorial parade. Those few minutes seemed to had given an incredible satisfaction to the media around the world and in Israel.

In the European media, it was emphasized how Netanyahu seemed to be so uncomfortable in those few minutes of waiting (which is clearly seen in this video). In Israel, there was a lot of criticism from the left winged folk, who said that this short video is a great proof that Netanyahu lives his life, ‘so high above’ the rest of the people, to the point that he never really had to ‘wait for anything in his life’ , not even just for a bus on the street…

From there on, the discussion took a turn into the high living costs in Israel, and about the escalating economic situation and so on.

The right wing people, on the other hand, said that the French media is anti-Semitic and not only that it seemed like the French authorities were trying to prevent Netanyahu from participating in the parade, they also made a fool of him in the media. Moreover, they said that it doesn’t matter if you are a regular Jewish French citizen, or Jewish prime minister, the French will always let you feel unwelcome.

So you understand where the wind was blowing right? In Israel, some people might also say that now, finally, the European states and citizens can understand what Israeli citizens are going through for years on end, living under permanent terror attacks and threats. This is not a very pleasant thing to say or to write, but it is true, with all the sadness and grief. Some people hope that Europe will open her eyes now and understand that Israel and Europe have a common enemy, and that they should join forces in order to fight the terror.  This is not my personal view; this is how the terror attacks were perceived in some of the Israeli public eyes.

And finally, the ‘Last Act’ for those horrible events, took form as a massive public funeral, which took place in Jerusalem, Israel.

The bodies of the four Jewish victims from the terror attack in the kosher supermarket and their families were flown to Israel in a special operation that was organized by the Israeli government and the ministry of religious affairs.

Also in this matter, there was a discussion in the media. Many asked why those victims were buried in Israel and not in France, where they lived. Online, there were also posts from French relatives and friends of the victims, who couldn’t show their last respects to their loved ones because the funeral took place in Israel.

It is not simple at all; I wish 2015 had a different start. I condemn with all my heart any acts of violent and terror, any hate-actions that are directed at values such as freedom of speech and aiming to hurt innocent people.

However, I wish that in such hard times, the Israeli leaders and politicians will learn to put aside the Zionist narrative, and will concentrate on showing their support and respect without promoting the immigration of Jewish people around the world to Israel. I don’t believe that this was the right way to encourage them to do ‘Aliyah’ (Jewish immigration to Israel).

Finally, as a French Jewish leader was quoted in the Jerusalem Post:

‘Aliya should come from love, not fear’. Moreover, the obsessive fuss around the Israeli prime minister in the Israeli media reduces the importance of those horrible events, and that’s too bad. May all the victims rest in peace, I hope for a better & peaceful future.


Ronie Barel

verhuisde van Israël naar Nederland, activist, blogger

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