Friday, January 15, 2016

The Plight of the French Jew

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ בא תשע״ו
YNET: French olim despair over work barriers in Israel
Prime Minister Netanyahu promised to welcome them with open arms, but French doctors and dentists are hardpressed to have their diplomas recognized and so have soured on making aliyah.

Yifat Erlich, 01.11.16

Until two years ago, David Tibi, 46, was a very in-demand dentist in Paris. So much so that even former Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim flew to France to entrust his teeth in Tibi's capable hands. But the wheel of fortune has turned and now Tibi is sitting at home. Not because he made a professional mistake, but because he made a different mistake: making aliyah.

Saturday marked exactly a year since the attack on the Hypercacher after which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on French Jews to immigrate to Israel, promising to receive them with open arms. Miraculously, the Health Ministry has still not heard of Netanyahu's promise. The ministry responsible for licensing health care professionals and paramedical has become a barrier to making aliyah. Thousands of French Jews - doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and dieticians - do not come to Israel due to the difficulties their profession's registration office give them. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Leave it YNET to suggest that aliyah can ever be a mistake. (sigh) No surprises there.

Besides that, it is important to point out that the dilemmas and concerns of the Jews currently stuck in France are not like the whining often heard from North American olim (immigrants to Israel). The French are usually not tripped up like North Americans by any new and different, cultural norms they encounter here. They are genuinely stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not only do they recognize that they need to leave France; they want to leave France, and they want to come to Israel.

On one hand, they have a chief rabbi with an interest in keeping the Jews in France, insisting on their right to wear kippoth on the streets, soon to be completely overrun by Muslims. On the other hand, they have an Israeli bureaucracy which is being anything but helpful. Eyebrow raising speeches by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and even the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, encouraging French Jews to make aliyah have been any match against the State of Israel's bureaucratic, front line soldiers. French Jews are really feeling just how stuck they are.

Alternative destinations for immigration, such as Canada, and in particular predominantly French speaking Quebec, thus seem more attractive than Israel.

I believe that somewhere, somehow, a stumbling block is being placed before them. At first, I thought it was just the French Jews' own particular test, their spiritual challenge, and need to jump through hoops, before being able to settle in the Land of Israel. Now, I am not so sure.

There are many in the government, as well as those who are really calling the shots, who do not want anymore religious Jews to enter the country. Not all French Jews are religious. But, most are traditional, exuding a right-wing, reactionary stance, and Sepharadi/North African, with practical experience with Muslims. These Jews are considered dangerous, being a great challenge and taking up too many resources, to indoctrinate them into die-hard State loyalty.

Too many of these French Jews have woken up to the concept of states being unreliable, in protecting its citizens. So, their naive idealism over the State of Israel as a refuge will hopefully only go so far, in service of the State. That is, if most of them succeed in making it here, in the first place.

I do not believe it is any coincidence that the above news report from YNET was published during this week's Torah portion "Bo." In this Torah portion, from the Book of Exodus, we learn of the very unhelpful people, those who have no connection to Eretz Yisra'el (the Land of Israel), who join Am Yisra'el (the Jewish People) in our exodus from Egypt. Haza"l, Rishonim, and other gedolim have been warning us since of the great harm that they have done, and will continue to do us.
וְגַם-עֵרֶב רַב, עָלָה אִתָּם, וְצֹאן וּבָקָר, מִקְנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד.... (שמות יב,לח)
And a mixed multitude went up also with them;... (Ex. 12:38)
Our tradition teaches us not to end words of Torah on a negative note. And so, I will do just that.

Using the lashon of Haza"l, while in hiding during the Holocaust, Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtel hy"d wrote that treif birds will be in control of Eretz Yisra'el. But, not to worry! Because this situation will only be temporary!

May Rabbi Teichtel's words come to fruition, speedily in our days.


DS said...

Great post! Thank you.

Really heart-rending. I can't believe the state would be so duplicitous - but why not believe it? After all, we have seen what they are capable of.

Evil ones, I want to see them fall already!

Lisa said...

The treyf bird thing probably referred to Peres, which is listed as a treyf bird explicitly in the Torah.

Esser Agaroth said...

Ya think? ;-)

Actually, I believe it is related to the suggiyah of the Shraqraq bird, which flies, and eventually must land. Commentators (Hessed leAvraham, maybe?) suggest that this treif bird's landing is the plummeting of its gaivah and/or its downfall. It then makes its call, which is like a whistle, thus shraqraq. It is suggested that even these trief birds will cry out to HaShem.

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