Saturday, July 03, 2004

Lance, Aliyah and France

From to-morrow's Times:
ERUSALEM, July 1 — More French Jews have been immigrating to Israel or buying properties here as potential havens, and the Israelis and the French are debating whether the trend is the result of a surge in anti-Semitic attacks in France or just a cyclical oddity.

The Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental body responsible for settling immigrants, reported a doubling in the number of French Jews who arrived last year and in 2002, to more than 2,000 each year, compared with about 1,000 a year in the previous three years. By contrast, worldwide immigration to Israel has sharply declined during the Arab-Israeli violence.

Michael Jankelowitz, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency, said that as a result of attacks against Jews in France in the past three years, many Jews, particularly those whose religion is evident from their clothes, were feeling increasingly uneasy. Much of the tension has centered in working-class suburbs of Paris where Jews and Muslims mingle.

"If they're made to feel uncomfortable, this is the place they've always dreamed of coming to," he said.
The AP also has questions:
Liege, Belgium–(AP) — It's a valid question: Did Tour de France organizers design a course specifically to thwart Lance Armstrong's drive for a record sixth win?

The course favors some of Armstrong's strongest rivals and blunts some of his own particular strengths. But Armstrong says he believes organizers are just aiming for spectacle.