Sharon Udasin reports in the Jewish Week:
…During the war in Gaza, the conflict not only fueled the fire between French Arabs and Jews, but also incited neo-Nazis and fascists to engage in anti-Semitic acts, according to Rabbi Eliahou Dahan, spiritual leader of the congregation in Lille, a city near the border of Belgium where he said only dozens of Jews remain.
In mid-January, police found both a swastika and the acronym “ZOG” (which stands for Zionist Occupation Government) spray-painted on the exterior of his synagogue.
“We all thought that after Sept. 11 it would be quiet, but this was not true — it was the other way. [The Gaza war] gave the Arab people here more chutzpah and arrogance,” Rabbi Dahan told The Jewish Week, as he and his boys scrambled to set up their sukkah and the littlest son rode a palm frond, pretending to be a knight on horseback.
But he stresses that tensions only mount amid Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and that they remain largely quiet at most other times.
“If we look at our everyday lives, only when there are tensions in the Middle East do we have some problems here,” he said.
Mordechai Lasry, a Jewish bookshop owner in Paris agreed, adding, “As soon as there is something happening in Israel they get excited. When nothing is going on, they don’t really budge.”
Rabbi Dahan, who himself hails from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, sends his own children to Jewish schools in Paris and sees most of his community members fleeing to the capital city, if not to Israel.
This year, approximately 2,000 French Jews will make aliyah to Israel, a slight increase from last year, as reported in the European Jewish Press.