French Jewry and the Israelization of Judaism

Yossi Shain, Sarah Fainberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The terrorist carnage of Charlie Hebdo on January 2015 followed by the killing of
Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris two days after, and the later massacre of Bataclan on November 13, transformed France in a historic fashion and may have signaled the twilight of French Jewry. A day after the kosher market killing, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls made a resounding plea: “Without the Jews of France, France would not be France. [...] I said this in my own words, with my heart, with my guts, and I will keep repeating this since it is my profound belief.” Indeed, for French Jews who have been wrestling for decades with their commitment to the Republic while facing growing insecurity, the clock of decision-making has been ticking. While previous terrorist attacks on Jews by French Muslims did not break their spirit and many still believed that somehow normality could return, by the end of 2015, it seemed that an impending catastrophe is looming. As a matter of fact French Jews can no longer send their kids to public schools or even Jewish schools without having endless anxieties. Undoubtedly the sense of insecurity felt by Jews is now shared by many other French citizens. And yet, in the case of French Jewry, insecurity is also entangled with a much broader transformation we call the “Israelization of Judaism.” These two developments, security fears and the Israelization of French Jewish identity, are tied with one another, creating a nexus that shapes the future of the French Jewry Diaspora; still the largest and most important Jewish community in Europe.
The Islamic threat in France has pushed many French Jews to exit, many of
whom already made aliyah while others are shuttling between Israel and France.
Those who are still hoping to build a Jewish future in Paris, Marseille or Toulouse, have by choice or reality become more and more “Israelized.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Israel: Major Debates
EditorsEliezer Ben-Rafael, Anne Weberling, Julius H. Schoeps, Yitzhak Sternberg, Olaf Glöckner
Place of PublicationMünchen
PublisherDe Gruyter Oldenbourg
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783110351637
ISBN (Print)9783110351606, 9783110607727
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDe Gruyter Reference
Publisher De Gruyter Oldenbourg

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Antisemitism -- France
  • France -- Emigration and immigration
  • Jews -- France -- Attitudes toward Israel
  • Jews -- France -- History -- 21st century
  • Jews -- France -- Intellectual life


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