Over 30 young French Jews are in Israel to learn Krav Maga self-defense techniques, to be able to protect their embattled enclaves back home against antisemitic and anti-Israel attackers, Israel’s NRG News reported over the weekend.
At a sports hall in Ra’anana, instructor Avi Sidon, the director of “Israeli Krav Magen,” and among the most senior Krav Maga instructors in the country, shouts instructions in Hebrew to the group standing in a semicircle, fake knives in their hands.
The young men and women don’t necessarily understand the quickly snapped out words in a foreign language, but the tone is clear. “Stand in line,” “Attack!” “This is the moment to strike!” Sidon yells and the students immediately make their moves. They are here, specifically, to learn how to give more than they get from potential hostile attackers in France, and have no intention of returning home without leaning all they can in the crash course.
The class is part of a new program called “Shield,” founded and operated by the World Betar movement as part of the Jewish Agency’s “Masa” five-month study program. The goal is simple: to help the Jews of France defend themselves. In recent years, anti-Semitic harassment, incidents, attacks, and terrorist murders have skyrocketed, and the trainees want to be prepared.
“I came to Israel when I was young, but I came back to France,” says 30-year-old Jonathan Peres of Paris. The oldest in the group, Peres also has the greatest experience in combat and self-defense in France. He is muscular, tough, and looks the part: he has served as a fitness and Krav Maga trainer for Jewish Defense League (JDL) members, and now serves as a senior figure within the organization.
The JDL has a reputation for taking the fight — literally — to those it perceives as a threat to local Jewish communities, in France, elsewhere in Europe, and in the US.
“Anti-Semitism in France is increasing,” he says. “We have a lot of problems, and not only with the Arabs.”
Question: So the solution is to come to Israel to learn self-defense here?
Peres: “The Jews in France should, in my opinion, be strong and know how to protect the public in the synagogues and family and friends. Worshipers need to learn how to behave in the face of this threat, and, yes, to know how to respond. And sometimes the answer is to hit. There are many French people who want to come to Israel and learn Krav Maga. Some will return to France at the end of the process to protect their communities, while others remain in the country to train in the army or in private,” Peres said.
While Peres talks, behind him men and women practice defensive exercises against a terrorist attack on a synagogue. The men are dressed in sports clothes, some with shaved heads and beards, while the girls wear paramilitary uniforms.
Q: If the situation in France is so bad, why don’t the Jews just get up and make Aliyah (emigrate to …read more
Source:: The Algemeiner