In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attacks on the French, culturally-leftist (Do I repeat myself, here?) publication, Charlie Hebdo, and the aligned slaughter at Hyper Cacher, Chabad Rabbi, and European Jewish Association Director, Menachem Margolin advised against mass emigration of his charges from France to Eretz Yisrael. In doing so, he directly disputed with many Jewish leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, styling such “Aliya” (literally, “going up” or “ascending”) as an ill-advised “Pavlovian” response.
Currently, the estimated Jewish population in France is somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 people, and falling fast. This represents perhaps 10% of the quickly growing Muslim population in France. Both nativist and Islamic attacks on Jews throughout Europe have been climbing steadily. The leader in this trend is France, followed, arguably by Britain and the Scandinavian countries.
In France, there are more than SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY neighborhoods classified officially as “sensitive”, or unofficially, as “No-Go” zones for the police. These areas have been effectively excised from the country, and are managed exclusively by the most radical (some say Islamically observant) Muslim individuals and groups. Nearly every horror seen in the international press associated with Islam happens also within these neighborhoods; “Honor” Killings, “Grooming” Gang-Rapes, Torture, Slavery, Violent and Racist Assaults, Child Marriages… on, and on, and on.
The rest of Europe dare not be smug, either. They all have their own, albeit, smaller variations. They have their “No-Go” zones, their “Honor” Killings, Rapes, etc. Each of their governments and lick-spittle press desperately tries to hide, mischaracterize, or deny what is happening. Their police and courts have been neutered by decades of politically correct policies aimed at maintaining their social(ist) welfare systems and industries in the face of declining native birthrates and the harsh mathematics that must implode any Ponzi Scheme. Europe is in a pickle… and the Jews will be the first victims (it is a tradition), but hardly the last.
I understand the problems Rabbi Margolin has to deal with.
First, as a shaliach (emissary) of the Rebbe, not unlike a captain on a sinking ship, he is duty-bound to serve the religious needs of every Jew within his reach. If every single other Jew has left France, save one, then he helps that one Jew. He should be literally the last one to leave.
Second, while a shaliach does this holy work, he must try to obtain critical cooperation from the civil authorities. Openly calling for mass “Aliya” frames France, or any other country similarly situated, as a “failed state”. Better to remain silent on the question, and quietly, but vigorously help anyone so inclined.
The ideal scenario would be one where soon, and much to everyone’s surprise, all the Jews are gone, and are learning Hebrew in their new, albeit modest, home, in the hills of Judea and Samaria.
Third, there is the belief that “Aliya” to the schizophrenic modern State of Israel need not be at the top of one’s priorities. That increasing observance of Torah and Mitzvot will hasten the coming of Moshiach. Upon his arrival, the stage is set for all the Jews of the world to (perhaps supernaturally) return home to Israel, anyway.
All well and good, but last I looked, at the Passover Seder, and many-many other times of prayer, we do not long for the return to , nor say “Next Year in Crown Heights” or “Next Year in Williamsburg”, or “…Monsey” or “…Lakewood”… or Paris. There is no avoiding the mitzvah of returning home… to the Land of Israel, in order to do even more mitzvot, including those that can ONLY be done there.
Besides…dead Jews are very limited in the kind of mitzvot they can perform. Live ones, eh, not so much!
In his favor, Rabbi Margolin called on the government to “ease” the availability of gun permits (oh, how I bristle at the Idea of asking, nay, begging, government for permission to have the tools to stay alive). He also threw a bone to the general rectitude of “Aliyah”, but desperately tried to sever it from practical concerns like continuing to be alive.
All in all, he should have just shut up.
Any Jews reading this from the U.S. or Canada and thinking it doesn’t apply equally to each and every one of YOU (and your kids… and grandkids) had better damned-well reconsider. The same issues are already here. Yes, you may have some time to get a little more for your house or business, than those poor slobs in Europe, but don’t dawdle. The last time we did, the price was very, very high.
And to those “Rabbis” and “Jewish Community Leaders” who openly oppose “Aliya” for any Jew, especially now, you should be profoundly ashamed of yourselves. What are you thinking?