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Photo: Gettyimages
French soldier outside a Jewish school in Paris
Photo: Gettyimages
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Marit Danon
Photo: Gil Yohanan

France is no longer a home for Jews

Op-ed: Like in Poland 70 years ago, one should not walk around with a Star of David, be seen entering a synagogue or Jewish school, speak Hebrew out loud on the metro or shop in a kosher food store.

There was one picture from Paris which hit me more than anything: The one showing a young mother breastfeeding her infant son and protecting him from the freezing cold of the walk-in freezer in which some of the survivors of the Hyper Cacher supermarket were hiding.

 

 

That young mother, in my eyes, is the image of Smadar Haran, who in April 1979 hid with her two-year-old daughter Yael when a terrorist cell of the Palestine Liberation Front broke into her apartment. Her husband Danny and her eldest daughter Einat were shot in cold blood on the Nahariya beach. Little Yael didn't survive.

 

The young mother hiding in the Hyper Cacher freezer is also the image of my maternal grandparents, who in the seventh decade of their lives found a few days of grace in a hiding room built especially for that purpose. Gestapo soldiers marched on the streets of their hometown in Poland, and Jews were being sent to concentration camps. Long days behind a sealed wall, with no daylight, no elementary services – their only crime being their Jewishness. The hiding room only helped them for a few months. They didn't survive.

 

The young mother in Paris is also the image of my parents, who were forced to change their identity during the Nazi occupation of Poland, adopt a Christian Polish name and Aryan certificates and escape into the lion's mouth, into Nazi Germany. Three years of daily fear, of hiding, of denying their Jewishness – in order to live.

 

Paris, Nahariya, Poland. Decades separate between these events, and one thread connects them: Our Jewishness, our Israeliness, and of course the hatred which knows no bounds.

 

Security at Paris' Jewish Quarter. 'One thread connects three events separated by decades: Our Jewishness, our Israeliness, and of course the hatred which knows no bounds' (Photo: AP)
Security at Paris' Jewish Quarter. 'One thread connects three events separated by decades: Our Jewishness, our Israeliness, and of course the hatred which knows no bounds' (Photo: AP)

 

Some of the survivors in my family found refuge in post-war Paris. France was the comfort after the years of hardship and persecution, and served for years as a cure for their soul. It was kind to them and gave them the power to collect the pieces of their life and build a new life. The hidden mental scars only seldom appeared, and were almost unnoticeable.

 

Today's France, unfortunately, is no longer a home. Like in Poland 70 years ago, walking around with a Star of David on one's neck is not so safe anymore, it's better not to be seen at the entrance to a synagogue or Jewish school, and one should not speak Hebrew out loud on the metro or shop in a kosher food store.

 

It seems to almost all of us that the best solution is immigrating to Israel – the home of the Jewish people, their stronghold, their shelter. It's so good that the state exists, because we no longer depend on other people's grace.

 

But the State of Israel is not the only answer for dealing with terror – a mass escape of Jews from their homelands is to some extent a surrender to terror and removal of the responsibility of the states in which terror is raising its ugly head.

 

Every person, including every Jew, has the right to have the freedom to choose the place he wants to live in. As a citizen with equal rights in his country, he is entitled to security, a life without fear, the possibility of leading a religious and cultural life according to his tradition – and it is his state's duty to guarantee that.

 


פרסום ראשון: 01.27.15, 12:02
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