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Former Soviet dissident, turned Israeli politician, author, and Chair of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky spoke about Israel’s relationship with Europe at Limmud, reports Jack Mendel

The Chief of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, outlined that from his experience Aliyah is caused by authorities ‘not being on Jew’s side’, and not simply by anti-Semitic hate. 

Speaking at Limmud on the relationship between Israel and Europe, he expanded upon the recent year’s spike in anti-Semitism, particularly from France, in the backlash against Operation Protective Edge.

He claimed that ‘one Percent of French Jews (around 7000 people) moved to Israel last year’, stressing that a major drive was “Insecurity, acts of terror and hooliganism, robbery and rape, from the extreme elements of the Muslim community.”

But he also stressed that “more than acts of terror.. Rabbis and teachers tell students not to go on the street with the Kippah” because they don’t feel secure.. In Paris, it’s not dangerous to wear a Kippa, but parents don’t want to take the risk.”

Sharansky outlined that he was ‘not so sure’ from his experience that it was simply a matter of hate crime that drove Aliyah.

“The most horrible and anti-Semitic incidents don’t cause people to move, if they feel that the authorities are on their side.”

He continued to add that this is not the case in France, because the Government and Police are doing ‘all they can’, and the legislation is ‘excellent’, but for people to move, they must feel a threat not just from ‘someone else’s house’, but ‘their own too.’