Tell us a few words about yourself.
My name is Talia Chaze. I am 19, and I live in Paris with my parents. I have been in Israel for the past five and a half months, on a program with Habonim Dror, called Maslul. I am returning to Paris today. Though I completed my first year of medical school in Paris, I don’t see my life in France. I will either start my studies again in Israel or in another country. I may study for a special degree in Israel to become a paramedic, and then continue to medical school.
If you have experienced antisemitism in your country, how was it expressed?
Yes, I have experienced it. I don’t always wear a Star of David on my necklace when I am outside, but when I am with my father or brother or friends during Shabbat and they wear a kippah, people yell ‘Jew go home’, and ‘You’re not home here’. People don’t understand the fact that France has seen a lot of different things, and they are very closed about religion. The moment someone shows a sign of his religion they become close-minded. I’m not taking the risk. Moreover, because I am a woman, if I show that I am Jewish I will be taking a greater risk.
What do you feel is the most productive way to fight hate?
I think people need to open their minds. In France, especially, they are not aware of what is happening in other countries. They don’t realize how bad it is in France. A good way to fight hatred is by reading the newspaper. Newspapers are very important. This is one of the reasons why people don’t know what is happening in Israel. Newspapers want to show what people want to hear and not tell the truth, so if they can blame someone they will do so, and this is what interests people. Newspapers offer what people want to hear, and not the truth.
What message would you like to relay to young Jews throughout the world who are worried about antisemitism?
Travel a bit and see the situation of the Jews in different countries and not only in your own country or ask people who live in other countries. Make sure that you are not going to be fooled by fake news or by people that don’t know what they are talking about. Don’t rely on others for information – even your parents.
What message do you have for those marching in the “March of the Living”?
First, I wish them ‘good luck’. While I myself didn’t participate, I did travel in Poland with my school. During the march, they should think about the fact that during the Holocaust, people died during this march, and they didn’t have any solution or way out. Today, we have a solution – Israel, and we should think about that. Don’t think about Israel only as a means of survival, but as a way to live. Living in Israel is meaningful, not because you don’t feel comfortable in your own country, but rather because you feel comfortable there – in Israel.