Growing up in Paris, Esther Coscas felt safe. Her home was in the heart of “Little Jerusalem,” a neighborhood in the suburb of Sarcelles dotted with kosher restaurants and shops bearing Hebrew names. Jews and Arabs lived side by side. While there was occasional friction, Coscas, who is Jewish, never feared for her life.
That changed in the summer of 2014, when pro-Palestinian demonstrations disintegrated into attacks on the Jewish community. Chanting “Death to the Jews,” protestors smashed windows and burned Jewish businesses, barricading congregants inside a synagogue and attempting to burn it down. Coscas, now 30, had just become a mother. She began to fear for her family’s future in France. Her siblings had already moved to Israel, but