The Yeshiva World
Six months after an ISIS terrorist plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 86 and wounding 434 people including five local Jews, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is teaming up with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) to help defend the Nice Jewish community against new threats, as part of The Fellowship’s efforts to safeguard Jews worldwide.
In response to requests from the Nice Jewish community since the attack, The Fellowship and WJC will each be providing financial assistance, along with French Jewish organizations, for a series of security upgrades, including security systems and materials, for local communal institutions.
Implementation of the project will be carried out by the Security Department of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), which has undertaken similar operations for Jewish communities in many parts of the world. The WJC congratulated The Fellowship for “undertaking this important security initiative, and is pleased to be of assistance in this endeavor.”
Since the end of World War II, the Nice Jewish community has grown from about 2,000 people to more than 25,000 today, and includes an Ashkenazi and Sephardi synagogue, a butcher, restaurants and a mikveh. The Musee Marc Chagall, containing the painter’s works on biblical themes, is situated in Nice.
In 2016 The Fellowship helped fund nearly $100,000 in security upgrades at more than two dozen French-Jewish communal institutions, including schools and synagogues, operated by the religious organization Chabad in the wake of terror attacks in Paris, Toulouse and elsewhere.
The aid was part of more than $3.5 million in security funding that The Fellowship began providing to Jewish communities in 32 countries after the terror attacks in Mumbai against Chabad and other Jewish communal targets. The funds, which were allocated to local institutions through the Jewish Agency, or directly to Chabad and others, helped fund security upgrades at community centers, schools, and synagogues across Asia, North Africa, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe, and the FSU.
Last summer The Fellowship was helping 28 members of the Nice Jewish community to prepare to move to Israel, and was conducting an aliyah (immigrate to Israel) seminar only a few blocks from where the ISIS attack occurred. The Fellowship’s local aliyah effort was part of a wider campaign across France to help Jews who wish to move to Israel.
In 2016, more than 2,800 Jews from Belgium and France immigrated to Israel with The Fellowship, part of the more than 4,500 Jews from 24 countries who made aliyah with The Fellowship in 2016. Most of those countries – including Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Turkey and Ukraine – are experiencing a rise in anti-Semitism or economic hardships.
“As we’ve unfortunately seen over the past few years, murderous terrorists are targeting Jews and so many others, from Mumbai to Nice, while Jewish communities are facing intensifying anti-Semitic threats and attacks,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s president and founder. “With partners like the World Jewish Congress, we are doing our utmost to defend Jews everywhere from this terrible scourge, while helping those who wish to move to their Jewish homeland.”