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Participants hold signs with pictures of the victims and reading, 'Je suis mort parce que juif' (I died because I am Jewish) during the funeral of the four Jews killed in the Paris kosher supermarket during the funeral ceremony at the cemetery in Jerusalem, 13 January 2015.   Source: EPA/ABIR SULTAN Participants hold signs with pictures of the victims and reading, 'Je suis mort parce que juif' (I died because I am Jewish) during the funeral of the four Jews killed in the Paris kosher supermarket during the funeral ceremony at the cemetery in Jerusalem, 13 January 2015. Source: EPA/ABIR SULTAN

Jewish Agency predicts repatriation of 50,000 French Jews to Israel

The chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky predicts that this year around 15,000 French Jews will repatriate to Israel, and over the next few years their number will reach 50,000.

He says that since the terrorist attacks in Paris, the “fair of emigration to Israel” at the Jewish Agency office has already been visited by 1,000 French Jews.

Sharansky also defended Netanyahu, who called on French Jews to repatriate to Israel. He says that Israel, as the Jewish state, has the moral right to offer Jews safe refuge. Sharansky emphasized that Israel was not exploiting the terrorist threat to encourage emigration, but that terrorism threatens Zionism, as it forces Jews to be afraid and to assimilate.

Patrice Walid, the owner of the kosher supermarket in Paris where people were taken hostage last Friday, said he wanted to repatriate to Israel, his brother Yoel said in an interview with Army Radio.

The shop-owner received a wound to the hand and is currently in hospital. According to Yoel, Amedy Coulibaly deliberately chose the Jewish store for the terrorist attack.

“When the terrorist entered the store, he immediately shot one of the employees standing by the entrance. [Patrice] tried to talk to him, but the man said: “You’re a Jew, and you will die! Everyone here will die!” My brother said that there were children at the store, but the terrorist ignored this and started shooting. [Patrice] was injured, but he managed to escape and warn the police,” said Yoel.

He added that as soon as Patrice Walid gets out of hospital, he plans to move to Israel with his family of five children.

“He doesn’t want to die in France. He wants to live in Israel. That’s his dream,” said Yoel.

The chief rabbi of Israeli David Lau sent the rabbis of the Jewish community of France a telegram of condolences after the murder of four Jews in the kosher supermarket.

He called on members of the community to be kinder to one another and not abandon their faith, but rather to strengthen it.

"It is our duty and obligation of the times we live in now, not to weaken our faith or succumb to fear. On the contrary, we must strengthen and improve our way of life, between man and his fellow, and strengthen our faith and commitment to eat kosher food – in the face of many temptations faced by Jews in Israel and the Diaspora," he said.

France has the largest Jewish community in Europe, numbering around 500,000 people.

Sources: www.israelnationalnews.com, www.timesofisrael.com, www.nytimes.com

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