The terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris this month will most likely result in an increase of Jewish immigration to Israel. 7000 French Jews moved to Israel last year with more expected in 2015. So, there clearly is a connection between anti-Jewish hatred on the continent and the Jewish resettlement of the state of Israel. What is interesting is that the phenomenon of Jews returning to Israel began hundreds of years ago – well before the modern Zionist movement.
The land of Israel has had an unbroken Jewish presence for millennia. Small populations of Jews survived after the destruction of the second Temple. But it wasn’t until after the collapse of the Crusader kingdoms in the 13th century that the Jewish communities started to grow. The driving force was the increase in anti-Jewish agitation in Europe.
The following podcast tells the story of one of the most dramatic and destructive flare-ups of anti-Jewish hatred in medieval Europe, the Great Bonfire of Paris. Following the disputation of Paris, a great debate was organized in Spain between Pablo Christiani, a Jewish convert to Catholicism and Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman a renowned Jewish scholar. The Disputation of Barcelona was held in the year 1263. Following this event Rabbi Nachman moved to Jerusalem and founded a Yeshiva.