Thirty Days Later: France's Jews at The Crossroads A first-person account by SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper

I was in Paris this week marking the 30 days that had passed since the terrorist murders of four Jewish shoppers in the Hyper Cacher market.

There was nothing random about those killings that took place against the backdrop of the assassinations at Charlie Hebdo.

Here's the situation that I found on the ground:

Massive security. President Hollande recognizes that his Jewish citizens are targeted by Islamist terrorists and has put 10,000 soldiers on the streets of France, including a group of battle-ready troops at the Center's European office, on some nights as many as five soldiers sleep there.

Photo: Wiesenthal Center officials meeting with CRIF leadership

Many Jews are no longer wondering whether to leave, but when and to where.
Thousands of French Jews have already left because of hate crimes, bullying on trains, shootings in Toulouse, kidnappings, home invasions, rape, murder, unending media bias against Israel, anti-Semitic taunts from Dieudonné, and a judicial system that won’t deal with anti-Semitism in a serious way.

Not every Jew is going to leave France. France's Chief Rabbi reminded my colleague Dr. Shimon Samuels and myself, that no country in the diaspora is free from Jew-hatred and that he and others will stay to fight back against the hate and rely on the government institutions to protect them from terrorists.

Can France Protect Its Jews and Itself From Islamist Terrorists? President Hollande and French leaders are trying. They understand it’s no longer just about the future of French Jews but about France’s future as a secular Republic. In our meetings with senior French officials, our discussions were honest and frank. There is a new awareness of the centrality of the social networking as a key recruitment weapon of ISIS.

Hate has put down roots. Last June, during a face-to-face meeting with President Hollande, he confirmed to us that 1,000 French citizens had trained with ISIS in Syria before returning home. Rabbi Marvin Hier, SWC Founder and Dean told Mr. Hollande that unless and until France’s 6,000+ Imams and other Muslim leaders weigh in on the right side of this struggle, this war may not be winnable. The hate preached by some Imams has put down roots. I got a small dose of it when Dr. Samuels and I were rushing to a meeting near the Élysée Palace, I briefly locked eyes with a young, hijab-clad Muslim woman. Her indifferent glance transformed into utter contempt when she saw my yarmulke.

I was inspired by the determination and leadership of CRIF President Roger Cukerman, SWC France President Richard Odier and so many other French Jews as they confront the difficult challenges of the future.

Your continued support will ensure we always stand with them!

  Listen to Rabbi Marvin Hier's interview on McIntyre in the Morning sharing his thoughts on President Obama calling the Paris Kosher Deli attack “random”...