French-Jewish tourists may be heading en masse to Israel, but the road seems to go both ways. The European Jewish Press reports that France is offering kids from Northern Israel an escape from the war via French summer camp, complete with surfing and folk dancing. Only two French towns participated, and Israel, for its part, isn’t enthusiastic about sending its children abroad, but the kids who went, according to this article, had a decent time of it.
While I’m sure these French mayors meant well, there’s something a bit creepy and Operation Shylock-esque about telling Israelis to give up on living in the hot, scary Middle East and come back to Europe. It’s just a two-week vacation, sure, but if France gives these kids a good enough time, that ends up being a gain for France and a blow to the Jewish State, in the same way that a successful Birthright Israel trip opens the eyes of Diaspora Jews to the option of being Jewish in Israel. Something about it just doesn’t sit right.