Flight to the Holy Land: Europe's Jewish Exodus (Part 1)
In the wake of recent terror attacks in Europe — several of which targeted Jewish institutions — some politicians and religious leaders have predicted an exodus of Jewish people from the continent. In some ways, the numbers stack up. Last year, a record 8,000 Jews arrived in Israel from France — with another 15,000 coming from Eastern Europe.
But some critics argue that reports of Jewish flight are overblown; they accuse Israel of taking advantage of fears in Europe to attract new immigrants and serve the interests of the Israeli state. "We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in February 2015. "I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are: Israel is the home of every Jew."
VICE News investigates these predictions of a mass Jewish migration — and the forces behind them.
In the first of a three-part series, VICE News heads to Paris to accompany 200 French people on a one-way flight to Tel Aviv. Once in Israel, we meet up with the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, an organization with a $400 million annual budget, which coordinates immigration programs with the Israeli government. We learn about what is pushing Jewish people out of France, and what is pulling them to the Middle East.