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Why 5,000 Jews emigrated from France to Israel last year

Another 5,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel last year, figures showed Monday, continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands quit the country after a series of attacks targeting the community.

Why 5,000 Jews emigrated from France to Israel last year
A man holds a sign reading "I am Jewish" during a demonstration after the Paris terror attacks two years ago. Photo: AFP
The Jewish Agency of Israel issued the update as France marked two years since attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, where four shoppers were shot dead.
   
Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, said that insecurity had been a “catalyst” for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.
   
The 5,000 departures in 2016 add to the record 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014. In total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006, according to figures seen by AFP.
  
“The aliyah (the act of moving to Israel) of French Jews has been significant over the last decade,” Benhaim told AFP.
  
The French Jewish community is the biggest in Europe and is thought to number around 500,000 people.
   
It was shocked in 2006 by the kidnapping and brutal anti-Semitic killing of a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, in the Paris suburbs, which was followed by a shooting in a Jewish school in the southwest city of Toulouse in 2012.
   
A proportion of those who emigrate to Israel are known to return to their country of origin afterwards. Estimates range from 10 to 35 percent.
   
Experts and members of the Jewish community in France say that recent attacks are not the only reason people are leaving, with family, religious and economic reasons also playing a role.
   
France paid homage Monday to some of the victims of three days of violence in Paris in January 2015 that saw two Islamic extremists attack the Charlie Hebdo magazine,  killing 12 people, and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in eastern Paris.
   
Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four people after taking shoppers hostage at the Jewish store. He was later shot dead by anti-terror police when they stormed the premises.

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ISRAEL

French sailor found after weeks adrift: Israeli army

A French sailor lost in the Mediterranean for weeks has been rescued by the Israeli military off the Gaza coast, the army said Friday.

French sailor found after weeks adrift: Israeli army
A file photo taken from the coast of Gaza. Photo: AFP

The man was recovered Thursday night drifting in a boat with a broken radio and no steering system near the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave bordering Israel and Egypt, the army said on Twitter.

“Our soldiers came across his boat near the Gaza Strip, rescued him, and took him for medical treatment,” the tweet said.

An army spokeswoman described the man as a fisherman travelling from Egypt towards Gaza. She said he was injured in the leg.

The tweet included a photo of a smiling man with greying hair wearing a sea jacket and hat and surrounded by soldiers aboard what appears to be an Israeli boat.

There were no further details on the circumstances of the rescue or the man's identity.

The French embassy in Tel Aviv said it had received information about the incident from the Israeli army, but did not have more any more details.

READ ALSO: Israel frees French-Palestinian after 13 months without trial

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