But in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in Luton, England, they celebrate the killings!

“Today, French Jews feel like outcasts of the nation. We must now protect Jewish schools and synagogues to avoid attacks, Jews can not go out with a yarmulke, especially in the metro. The pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the month of July [2014] was a terrible warning, with attacks on places of worship and slogans such as “Death to the Jews!” Heard in the streets of France. It’s scary. Added to this, a feeling of constant danger with the French who go do jihad and can return to France with the will to carry out attacks, like Mohamed Merah in Toulouse and Mehdi Nemmouche in Brussels. We are facing an Islamist threat that hangs over all of France. This global climate scares French Jews. It is a failure for France, where a population is suffering persecution because of his origins.

– Roger Cukierman, President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France. (Le Figaro, January 2, 2015)

As reported this past week, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, more than 7,000 Jews from France emigrated to Israel in 2014, more than double the previous year’s total of 3,293 citizens. It was the largest contingent from any country. Sadly, the flow is expected to continue throughout 2015. I suspect it won’t stop there and especially won’t within France’s young, vibrant Jewish community. To date, thousands of them have left France to established a new life in the USA, Canada, Australia and of course in Israel.

About seven years ago while I was in Paris, a dear Jewish friend of mine, who was born in Algeria, invited me to join her at a lunch given at a Jewish community centre. I was struck by the utter pessimism pervading in many of those present. Be they originally from Tunisia, Algeria or born in metropolitan France, as I went around introducing myself, parents told me that their children had already left the country. Seven years ago. And now as I read and watch what is happening in France, I wonder if those same parents I spoke to have joined their children for a better and safer environment.

I think of myself as a somewhat optimistic and strong individual. For I probably see the good in people more than the darker side of people’s personality, irrespective of their race and religion. But, if I was currently living in France as a Jew, I really wonder if I would be able to maintain my optimism. Honestly, I doubt it.

Yesterday, Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 3 pm, a silent solidarity march in Paris and in other major French centres, brought together a multitude of world leaders. From Italy, Russia, Germany, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel and Italy. From Arab and African nations, they marched to show their distaste to the barbaric acts committed by Islamist terrorists who have now taken over the role Hitler and other despots attempted to achieve.

Yesterday, France proved to us once again that as a proud country of culture, history and great beauty, if there’s one thing they’re good at, it is putting on a superb solidarity march.

So many of its citizens, Muslim, Jew and Christian were killed this past week. So many of its Jewish citizens, over the past number of years, children and adults alike, have been murdered in the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

As we read and watch these sickening events continually take place in France, what do I, as a Canadian, have to offer my brothers and sisters living in France. Is it hope? Hope is the expectation that circumstances in the future will get better. Will it? I really wonder if it will.

There is documented evidence to suggest that there has been a Jewish presence in the south of France since at least the 1st century. If the Islamist terrorists have their way that presence, in the years ahead, will surely come to an end. And so will the France as we know it. Perhaps it already has.

Thank God there’s an Israel.