Millionaires Flee France Amid Religious Tensions

17/02/2016_Hollande Jewish Cemetary
French President Francois Hollande (R) at the Sarre-Union Jewish cemetery, Bas-Rhin, France, February 17, 2015. Many French Jews are leaving for Israel. Reuters/Vincent Kessler

France saw a net loss of around 10,000 millionaires in 2015—with about a quarter of those leaving Jewish—as rising religious tensions engulf private and political life in the country.

The revelation was contained in a report by New World Wealth, which noted that “the large outflow of millionaires from France is notable—France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims, especially in urban areas.”

The New World Wealth foundation’s Andrew Amolis tells Newsweek: “Around 20 to 25 percent of the people that left were Jewish, and they went to Israel.”

“We expect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate,” the report added.

The report notes that millionaires leaving a country can be interpreted as a negative sign of things to come: “Millionaires are often the first people to leave. They have the means to leave unlike middle-class citizens.”

As Newsweek reported in February, overall migration from France to Israel rose in 2015, with  7,469 French immigrants making the journey, up from 6,658 in 2014 and 3,263 in 2013.

There have been a number of high-profile instances of anti-Semitic violence in France, including the 2015 killing of four Jewish hostages at a kosher market by militant Islamists. Anti-Semitic acts in France doubled in 2014.

In a poll of European Jewish leaders published earlier in March by the International Centre for Community Development of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 40 percent of respondents said that anti-Semitism poses a serious threat to the future of Jewish life in their country.

The New World Wealth foundation report was based on official statistics and interviews with high net worth individuals, migration experts, wealth managers and others.