This study focuses on the formation of a transnational identity among immigrants from France who are employed in French-speaking companies in Israel (mostly call-centres). The preliminary qualitative analysis shows that this unique employment pattern contributes to the formation of their transnational identity, which is a combination of their francophone, Jewish and Israeli identity. The findings obtained from a larger-scale online survey indicated that French immigrants employed in French-speaking companies are more ethnically, socially and culturally segregated, and less fluent in Hebrew than French immigrants who are not employed in such companies. However, no significant differences were found between these two groups in their Israeli identity and sense of belonging to Israeli society. In general, the French immigrants feel at home in Israel, are satisfied with their life in Israel and plan to remain there. The implications of these findings for policymakers are discussed.
The tragic events that shook France in January 2015 (the mass shooting in Paris of Charlie Hebdo journalists and of shoppers at a kosher supermarket) raised questions about the safety of French Jews and revived the age-old controversy about public statements by Israeli leaders calling upon French Jews to immigrate to Israel. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jews are not safe in France and that Israel is their true home, he stirred the ire of French officials. Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France retorted, “Without its Jews, France would no longer be France, and the Republic would be considered a failure.” Was this just another controversy about Israel’s right (or lack thereof) to speak in the name of French Jews, or do the tragic January 2015 events mark the end of an era in the history of French Jews? One cannot address this questions without understanding the history of French Jewry and of the relations between France and Israel.
he Algerian war resituated the meaning of “Muslims” and “Jews” in France
in relation to religion and “origins” and this process reshaped French
secular nationhood, with Algerian independence in mid-1962 crystallizing
a complex and shifting debate that took shape in the interwar period
and blossomed between 1945 and 1962. In its failed efforts to keep all
Algerians French, the French government responded to both Algerian
nationalism and, as is less known, Zionism, and did so with policies
that took seriously, rather than rejected, the so-called ethnoreligious
arguments that they embraced—and that, according to existing
scholarship, have always been anathema to French laïcité. Most scholars
on France continue to presume that its history is national or wholly
“European.” Yet paying attention to this transnational confrontation,
driven by claims from Algeria and Israel, emphasizes the crucial roles
of North African and Mediterranean developments in the making of