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France Trying to Woo Jews Back From Israel Amid Fears of Future Economic Lag

Emmanuel-MacronFrench Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron visited the DLD tech conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The French government is trying to lure talented French Jews now living in Israel back to France amid fears that the European country is losing future business leaders and skilled professionals, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption revealed that 6,961 French Jews moved to Israel in 2014, double the number of 2013. More than 36% of those emigrants hold college degrees and 17% are in engineering.

According to the report, the Jewish exodus from France is depriving the country of young talent, as it continues to struggle with poor economic growth and unemployment rates in the double digits.

The report said that the attendance of French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron at a major tech conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, and his current visit to Israel in general, is focused on encouraging Jewish investors and innovators to return to France. He met with parents of high school students and courted Israeli investors, touting government measures his ministry plans to implement, such as tax incentives and streamlined labor tribunals.

“A lot of these people have energy, vitality. They want to create jobs, startups, and innovate here,” Macron told The Wall Street Journal. “They can innovate as well in France.”

Macron added that France is in need of a “cultural revolution” that can’t be secured with legislation. He told the publication, “In France we are largely based on status, which means that when you have a position, you respect the position. It means people are less keen on taking risks.”

French Jews relocating to Israel are largely seeking to escape the rise in antisemitic sentiment in France, but also seek to distance themselves from the inflexibility in France’s education and labor systems, according to the WSJ.


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