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Running Scared

Gershon Burstyn and Binyamin Rose

With five million Muslims, a native population with a history of anti-Semitism, and yet another Jewish terror attack, French Jews are walking on thin ice. But three French-born terrorists — influenced by an ideology that broaches no dissent and expresses itself most eloquently in blood — have forced all of Europe to wake up to the new reality of jihad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

They came armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, and took dead aim at Western civilization. The details of the story are by now well known: Two Islamic terrorists, seeking revenge for the mockery of their prophet, killed 12 in the course of an attack on the offices of a satirical magazine inParis. Two days later, hours before Shabbos fell on Europe and Israel, a criminal-turned-Islamist namedAmedyCoulibaly stormed a kosher grocery store, immediately shot dead four Jews, then held siege for hours before he was killed in a rain of gunfire. The three French-born, French-speaking terrorists had hatched the plan together, influenced by an ideology that broaches no dissent, takes no prisoners, and expresses itself most eloquently in blood. Days later, Europe has awoken to a new reality: jihad in its most sacred institutions, war on its streets, and the threat of future attacks to come. For the Jews of France, this is yet the latest indication that their home no longer offers safety. In January 2006, Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman, was abducted by a gang and tortured for three weeks before being left for dead. Almost three years ago, in March 2012, an Islamist named Mohammed Merah stormed into a Jewish school in Toulouse and shot to death teacher Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his two young sons, and the principal’s daughter at point-blank range. In neighboring Belgium, a jihadist back from the war in Syria attacked the Jewish museum in Brussels in May 2014, killing four before being captured. Attacks on Jews on the streets ofFrance have become routine: Anti-Semitic incidents there rose 91 percent in 2014. At the same time, the number of French Jews leaving the country indicates that many Jews have had enough. In 2014, more than 7,000 French Jews emigrated (more than 1 percent ofFrance’s 500,000 Jews), about 5,000 making aliyah to Israel.NatanSharansky, the head of Israel’s Jewish Agency, who hosted an aliyah fair inParis on Sunday, two days after the terrorist attack on the kosher supermarket, said that more than 50,000 French Jews inquired into aliyah last year alone. What happened inFrance last week was an attack on a sacred Western institution — the free press — in a country whose motto is liberty, equality, and fraternity. The Islamists, it seems, have little interest in promulgating those freedoms. While the Jewish community ofFrance has until now suffered the brunt of these attacks,France, and Europe, are slowly realizing that they only came for the Jews first.

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