MK in France: 'Moral Responsibility to All Jews'

MK Yoni Chetboun spends a week in France promoting Aliyah and talking to government officials about upping security for French Jews.

Ido Ben Porat, Cynthia Blank,

Chetboun and Pupponi
Chetboun and Pupponi
Ephraim Zano

A coalition from Israel arrived in France Thursday for an Aliyah Weekend event to promote Jewish immigration to Israel, which has been on the rise spurred on by rising anti-Semitism in France.

The group included MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home), Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and Rabbi Yehuda Ben Yishai, the father of Ruthie Fogel who was murdered along with her husband and three young children by two Arab terrorists in Itamar. 

Chetboun will remain in France until next Sunday and is expected to meet with leaders of Jewish communities, organizations encouraging immigration and French government officials.

As the Chairman of the Lobby for Aliyah to Israel from France, MK Chetboun has been involved in removing barriers to immigration. One of the barriers was recently solved by Israel's recognition of opticians who have French academic degrees. Until recently, Israel had not made such a recognition, and these French professionals were unable to work in Israel. 

Chetboun met Thursday with representatives of groups of doctors, lawyers and accountants who wish to make Aliyah, but fear the hardships of absorption and integration into Israeli professional life. 

"For sixty-six years, Aliyah has been the largest growth engine of Israeli society," said Chetboun, "Israel should encourage immigration, and not create additional difficulties for immigrants."

Chetboun heard about the complexities for French Jews in making Aliyah and promised to come up with solutions immediately upon his return at the beginning of next week.

The MK also met with
Francois Pupponi, a member of the French Parliament and Mayor of Sarcelles, near Paris. Pupponi, great friend of Israel and advocate of French Jewry, also serves as Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group "France-Israel" and is not afraid to express his pro-Israeli positions.

A representative from the Israeli embassy was also in attendance, and all agreed for increased cooperation to protect the safety of Jews in France.

"Israel is a Jewish state," said Chetboun to Pupponi, "We have a moral responsibility toward all Jews in the world, whether they want to make Aliyah or not."

"French Jewry is Zionist in its essence, lovers of Israel who are eager to make Aliyah," Chetboun continued, ''The current rise of anti-Semitism in Europe makes immigration imperative. We are here to encourage it and allow it to grow, but we also have a moral responsibility for the safety and welfare of all the Jews in the world."

''Unfortunately, the current wave of anti-Semitism in France is nothing new, but the scope and dimensions of it are dangerous. Israel should make every effort for the welfare of Jews in France. It has been our duty for sixty-six years and we will not shirk it. "