The president of the Jewish community in Toulouse has urged young Jews to leave the city two years after an Islamist terrorist shot dead three Jewish children and a rabbi outside a suburban school.

Ari Bensemhoun said they should move away because they could not practice Judaism openly.

In an interview, he admitted: “I encourage the younger people to make aliyah or go elsewhere,¬†where they can thrive in open Judaism, emancipated and without constantly fearing over what tomorrow will bring.”

His comments come as the city remembers the events of 19 March 2012, when French-born Islamist Mohammed Merah, killed Miriam Monsonego, 8, along with Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, Arieh and Gabriel, at the Ohr Hatorah Jewish day school.

The number of French Jews who immigrated to Israel rose by more than 50% last year, with more than 3,000 new arrivals, up from less than 2,000 in 2012.

According to the security unit of the French Jewish community, there has been a wave of anti-Semitic incidents since the Merah murders, with 90 such incidents in the fortnight immediate after.