France's Response to Terrorism: Start Teaching Arabic in Middle School!

In the last 19 months, France has been the stage for three major terrorist attacks. The Charlie Hebdo/Kosher Market in January 2015, the Bataclan in November 2015 and now the Bastille Day rampage on July 14, 2016. More than 230 innocent people lost their lives at the hands of bloody murderers who all appear to have Islamic connections and/or ISIS affiliations or sympathies. I mourn for France and with France, remembering the families of all the victims. I also remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls' speech days after the three January attacks. It was passionate, firm and gave hope to the French people. It was exactly the sort of leadership that was needed at the time. Then came the November attacks around Paris. France was in shock for the second time and it appeared as if all that had been put in place or at least discussed, amounted to nothing.
France started to lose hope and extreme-right populist party, Front National, became more vocal about their concern for the country. President Hollande and Manuel Valls' popularity started to plummet. Not much had been done except placing a few police officers here and a another few soldiers there. The French were no longer feeling safe and rightfully so! One of the responses to ISIS massacres on French soil was to bomb some of their strategic facilities, something that I agree needed and continues to need to be done.

France's response to ISIS outside of French territory has been bold and somewhat successful on the ground in the Middle East. ISIS has been affected, so they decided to change their approach to terror. Same drive: Islamism, same method: bloody terror but different expressions of that terror. We could call it "disposable terror." Use it once for maximum damage and then dispose of it and prepare for your next attack using another completely unexpected approach. It is working and the world appears to be overwhelmed by terrorism, not knowing what's coming next or how to respond, let alone prepare for it. Just days ago, Manuel Valls declared that France had to "learn to live with terrorism." This and his lack of a clear plan to protect France caused him to be booed at a gathering in Nice to honor the July 14th victims.  His statement is NOT appropriate unless France chooses to  become a dhimmi state. France is obviously a favorite target for ISIS and its cohorts. Reasons can be given for that preference. France is very big on freedom and equality. France has been more involved in responding to ISIS on their turf with force. And of course, Muslims never forgot that Charles Martel defeated Islam's invasion of France in Poitiers in 732. So there is bad blood between France and radical Islam. Terrorism will continue on French soil.

It used to be that the highest challenge with terrorism was that nobody knew where or when it would hit next. This was already a tremendous challenge to keep up with. This continues to be the case except that now we can add method to location and timing. In other words, we don't know where or when terrorism will occur but we also don't know how. This makes for a very volatile recipe. France is not alone in this predicament. The whole world is a potential victim of Apocalyptic Islam. Europe is obviously struggling with its own migrant crisis, and the Summer months will inevitably usher many more emigrants to the region. Loose borders allow for many migrants to move about freely between European countries, and we have already seen terrorists come out of the migrant human flow, where they hid until the opportune time. They were all Muslims. There is an unavoidable connection between Islam and terrorism and this has nothing to do with racism since Islam isn't a race but an ideology. Obviously, not all Muslims are terrorists, but so far, all terrorists have been Muslims. Nobody speaks of Christian terrorism, Jewish terrorism, Buddhist terrorism, Hindu terrorism...etc.

For reasons that escape me, very few "moderate" Muslims speak up against radical Islam. Is it fear, indifference, allegiance? nobody really knows. In the meantime, Islam continues to push the envelop and France continues to make way for new laws in favor of Islamic culture.

So when French kids go back to school this September they will have a choice to take Arabic as a second language. New French Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (a Muslim herself) has worked hard to pass a new educational reform adding Arabic to the list of foreign languages that French pupils will be able to choose from, starting in Middle school. This has not gone unnoticed and has garnered quite a bit of criticism from more conservative parts of the French government. She calls the resistance from some French deputies an "absurd controversy."

I am not against teaching Arabic in French universities but I don't agree that it needs to be done so early in Middle schoool. Many fear that it will be at the expense of basic French that many students also struggle with. But it goes deeper than just adding one more foreign language. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also added that if there are no teachers to currently teach Arabic in French schools, she will work hard to bring "outsiders" as she called them. If I lived in France and had my young children in schools, I would be worried about "outsiders" coming to teach Arabic. Especially at a time when France needs reassurance that its citizens are safe. She did mention that all of it will be done by choice from the parents.

I believe that this is going to open the door to more Islamic influence in French schools at an earlier age. Jewish kids have already been leaving the French public school system in large numbers. Seeing how Islam has pushed its way into French culture, government and education and has not integrated or assimilated, adding Arabic as an elective in Middle school is not a good idea. It actually looks more like appeasement than anything else. The question is "How long will it remain an elective?" After all, If France has to "learn to live with terrorism", Arabic might come in handy!

Is a France Without Jews Possible?

France is one of the oldest countries in the world, having a rich history that goes back to the sixth century BCE. It has seen the birth of many important figures such as Charlemagne, Napoleon and others. Additionally, the French language replaced Latin as the international language from the 17th century until the middle of the 20th century when it was replaced by English. There has been a Jewish presence in France for a very long time. To this day, the country has had a long love/hate relationship with its Jewish community. Even though the Jews have always had friends and will continue to do so in France, consider some of the following non-exhaustive tragic historical records:

• The First Crusade was organized by Pope Urban II in France in 1095.
• Accused of "Ritual Murder" during Holy Week, Jews were burned at the stake in France in 1187.
• The yellow badge of shame to identify Jews, known as "la rouelle" was introduced in France in 1215, later to be taken to new heights by the Nazis as the yellow star.
• 12,000 volumes of the Talmud were burned in France in 1242.
• Jews were repeatedly expelled from France in 1182, 1306, 1322, 1394 and 1453.
• The Dreyfus Affair took place in Paris in 1894, falsely accusing Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus of treason.
• 78,000 French Jews were sent to their death in the Camps by the Vichy government of France during World War Two (1939-1945)
• There was a terrorist attack at Jo Goldenberg Jewish Deli in the Paris Jewish district in 1982 (6 deaths).
• Ilan Halimi was abducted and murdered in 2006.
• A Rabbi and three Jewish students died in the Toulouse Massacres of 2012.
• The Paris terrorist attack in January of 2015 claimed 17 lives (four Jewish people form the Kosher market).

I could obviously add a lot more to this somber list but these will suffice to make my point. France has a long reputation of anti-Semitism. The whole gamut of anti-Semitism is actually represented there from theological anti-Judaism to racial anti-Semitism to the new anti-Semitism, culminating in the current wave that I call End-Times anti-Semitism. In fact, anti-Semitism runs extremely deep into the French soil. It would be erroneous to put the blame simply on the Arab/Israeli conflict and the global ramifications that it has created. To be sure, Muslim anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, but it never was and never will be the sole root of the French anti-Semitic weed.

The latest outrage out of France is an apparent act of discrimination against an Israeli art professor wanting to bring students from Tel Aviv to both the Louvre museum and the Sainte-Chapelle church. When turned down for reservations, he applied again under two fictitious organizations from Abu Dhabi and Italy, only to be immediately accepted. In light of the level of animosity against Jews and Israel in France and the heavy involvement in the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), one is to wonder the real motives behind the refusal. An inquiry is underway. The Louvre has already rebooked the group and is claiming that their computerized booking system is incapable of any discrimination. Sainte-Chapelle is all done by hand and results from the inquiry are still pending. It could turn out that there was no malice in the process. I certainly hope so.

France's prime minister Manuel Valls who delivered a poignant, gut wrenching speech against anti-Semitism and racism only days after the January terrorist attacks, has also pledged over 100 million euros towards the fight against anti-Semitism. But recognizing how bad a weed is, serves no purpose unless you actually pull the chocking weed from the ground. Additionally, if the soil isn't properly fertilized, the weed can soon return stronger and deeper. France without Jews, according to Mr. Valls isn't France at all. This might turn out to be a very hard sell for the prime minister.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of France, including the largest Muslim community in Europe couldn't care less if the Jews leave. I also happen to believe that France is making a grave mistake by its nonchalant approach to the oldest hatred. French Jews are leaving in droves (7,200 made aliyah to Israel last year). They are taking with them culture, knowledge and creativity. As a result, this will undoubtedly create a void AND an imbalance in the French economy. Israel expects up to 10,000 more French Jews in 2015. This is all based on not experiencing any more terrorism and murders, something I am certain is unrealistic!

The Jewish community ceased feeling at home in France in 2006 after the Ilan Halimi murder. Since then, anti-Semitism has been on the rise. A France without Jews is very possible and is most likely to happen within the next 20 years or less. It really doesn't matter if "France isn't France without its Jews" because France has ceased from being France a while ago already ! We would be fools if we thought that France is the only European country losing its Jewish community in the 21st century. It is the first but certainly not the last.

On the other hand, it is encouraging to be reminded that God cares about Israel and the Jews–no matter where they are from. In His word, God is crystal clear about His unconditional love for Israel and the Jewish people. Even the Messiah comes from the Jewish people and it should also be clear that He is the only hope for Israel (Isaiah 52-13-53:12).