The Jews of France have gotten the message. It is time to leave their Diaspora dwelling and come home to Israel. Just as it is no simple matter for them to pack up their belongings and leave their homes, it is no simple matter for Israel to spread its arms wide and receive the incoming brethren.

Israel is already in a housing crisis with skyrocketing costs. A wave of new immigrants would tweak the laws of supply and demand and make matters even worse. Practical steps must be taken to avert the disaster that has already begun.
More than 7,000 French Jews made aliyah last year, doubling the number that made Aliya in 2013 and making France the largest country of origin for new olim. France is home to the third largest Jewish community in the world. Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky recently said he sees over 100,000 Jews moving to Israel from France in the next two decades.

Asking where to make room for them takes on a political dimension, involving lines of various shades. Suddenly, a green line appears that no one has ever actually seen and takes precedence over practical considerations.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel sent a letter to the Yesha council of settler leaders, the minister told settlement officials to prepare to absorb a wave of French immigration in the wake of the Paris terror attacks that will be keen to join Jewish communities over the Green Line, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Tuesday night, showing the letter on screen. Ariel is a member of Naftali Bennet’s Bayit Hayudi party, whose policy of supporting settlements is controversial and divisive in Israeli politics.

“There is no doubt that the Jews of France feel a deep identity with the settlement movement in the West Bank,” Ariel wrote. “And that is where they will want to establish their home.”

He also tasked the Yesha council, that coordinates settlement activity, to find suitable sites for expansion in Jewish communities in the West Bank, the report said.

Ariel’s announcement was sure to draw fire, and draw fire it did. Meretz Chairman MK Zahava Gal-On vowed Wednesday to petition Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to contest the plan, following a similar reaction from far-left Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramovich.

Abramovich argued that French Jews, who are already fleeing from a rising tide of Islamism in their home country, would feel distinctly uncomfortable moving to a region whereby the Jewish communities are surrounded by Arabs – and, often, villages with high levels of support for Hamas. France has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in recent years, and it flared particularly in 2014 and during Operation Protective Edge, with violent protests in Paris.

Labor leaders Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Herzog further slammed the plan as a “cynical move that will hurt Israel’s international standing” that will “deepen the isolation Bibi got us into” and “deeply hurt our relations with world Jewry.”

The building up of settlements over the green line is seen as one of the primary reasons for European anger towards Israel. It should also be noted that Netanyahu’s open invitation for French Jews to “come home to Israel” angered French President Hollande who felt that it impugned his ability to protect the Jews of France who he sees as primarily French citizens.