Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to express a type of grief they know all too well, following the murderous terrorist attacks in Paris.
The Israeli interior minister told the French ambassador, “Israel stands by you and we will help you. We will defeat those who want to destroy our values.” Israel sent its condolences as French flags were being installed in the city centers all throughout Israel.
At Rabin Square, where the solidarity rally was held, chants of “vive la liberté” rang out, and the French national anthem was sung as if the rally were in Paris itself. Especially poignant was the attendance.
Half of the crowd were Israeli-born. They came to support France with more solidarity than you can imagine, with first-person knowledge of the trauma caused by terrorist attacks.
The other half of the crowd were French (and other European citizens) who live in Israel. A large percentage of these people made aliyah to Israel precisely because of anti-Semitism in Europe and fear of attacks. After the huge wave of North African immigration to France, attacks against Jewish people have skyrocketed, also increasing Jewish emigration out of France and into Israel, the Jewish state that is perceived as the safe haven for Jewish people. Since the beginning of the year, more than 6,000 French Jews have immigrated to the country that is roughly the size of New Jersey. And just three days after the attacks, another 60 French Jews made aliyah to Israel together.
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