Jewish immigration to Israel from western Europe has reached an all-time high as a result of a rise in anti-Semitic attacks, a leading nonprofit group said Thursday, as France’s beleaguered Jewish community grapples with whether to refrain from donning Jewish skull caps for their own safety.
The Jewish Agency, which works closely with the Israeli government and acts as a link to Jews around the world, told The Associated Press that 9,880 western European Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015 — the highest annual number ever. The figure is more than 10 percent over the previous year and over double the 2013 level.
The vast majority, close to 8,000, came from France, where a rise in anti-Semitic attacks has shattered the sense of security of the world’s third-largest Jewish population.
Just this week, a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher in the southern French town of Marseille, prompting a local Jewish authority to ask fellow Jews to refrain from wearing their traditional skullcaps to stay safe. That sparked counter calls from other French and Jewish officials who said such a move would be a capitulation to terror.
Read More: Western Europe Jewish migration to Israel hits all-time high