Tuesday, March 18, 2008

French Jews flee suburbs for Paris 'ghettoes'

For French Jews, history is repeating itself. In moving their children to Jewish schools or their families out of the suburbs, many Sephardic families make a direct comparison between this migration and their families’ flights from North Africa some 40 years ago, JTA reports.

"They chased us from Algeria and they followed us here," Robert Sebbane, 81, says of the North African Muslims responsible for much of France’s anti-Jewish crime.

In 2000, "we were shocked because we didn't think this would happen here," says Sebbane, who lives in the town of Creteil.

Even in Seine-Saint-Denis, which community leaders say is a comparatively safe area, Jewish residents are subject to anti-Semitic taunts and youths regularly spit at synagogues as they walk past.

Some religious Jews in France have warned community members not to display their yarmulkes in public.

In Villepinte, Hannoun says families started departing "very rapidly" in 2004, when "the reality of the situation set in."

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