All of us know the term “Aliyah”: it means “ascent”, the act of going up that indicates the migration from the Diaspora to Israel. It is a Hebrew word that in the recent weeks has acquired a particular nuance of meaning. This is a troubled time for the Jews in Europe: war in Middle East sparked violent reactions both in the world of Islamic extremism and in the extreme left to the point that often public protests in favor of the Palestinians have degenerated into anti-Zionistic and into anti-Semitic demonstrations or, worse, in riots against the Jewish Communities.
In this context the news of the recent Aliyah of 400 French Jews, in the middle of July, gives us something to think about. France hosts largest European Jewish Community, which in the last years has experienced growing hostility and violent attacks, most of the times related to the presence in France of the largest Muslim community of the continent.
One per cent of French Jewry – about 5,000 people – is expected to migrate to Israel within this year. Regarding Italy, data are not so impressive because we are talking about a smaller Jewish community. However, numbers remind us that between 2003 and 2012 the Italian Aliyah grew from 21 to 137 persons a year: a notable trend that, according to scholars, is absolutely increasing.
Besides France, the anti-Semitism bedevils also other countries of Europe, and in these weeks of the Middle East conflict the phenomenon developed in a blatant way. So, should we consider Aliyah from France only a harbinger of things to come?