Thousands of French Jews show up for aliyah fair

Some 5,000 French Jews participated in an aliyah fair in Paris.

The fair, organized and run by the Jewish Agency, took place May 6, the same day as the French presidential elections where incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate favored by the country’s Jews, was defeated.

“I cannot recall having seen such a massive number of people interested in aliyah since the days when lines of people stretched out of the Israeli Embassy in Moscow,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, who attended the fair. The annual event usually attracts about 2,000 visitors, according to the Jewish Agency.

The French Jewish community is the largest in Europe, with some 500,000 members, according to the Jewish Agency.

The fair comes on the heels of a March attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in which four were killed: a rabbi and his two young sons and the daughter of the head of the school.

Sharansky said May 7 during a visit to Toulouse that the Jewish Agency would support French Jews interested in moving to Israel, but that aliyah should not be based solely on a tragedy like the one in Toulouse. — jta