After years of suffering by French Jews, the government has finally declared war against the ugly wave of anti-Semitism that has been plaguing the country.
The Jews of France have been suffering from a vicious wave of anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, including the recent torching of a kosher restaurant and an extremely violent home invasion incident, and France has finally decided to fight the phenomenon. France’s minister of the interior vowed on Sunday to make the fight against anti-Semitism a “national cause,” AFP reports.
Speaking at a rally in the Paris suburb of Creteil, where the home invasion took place, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve stated: “We need to make the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a national cause by getting all bodies concerned involved. The Republic will defend you with all its force because, without you, it would no longer be the Republic,” AFP quotes him as saying.
Speaking at the same rally, Roger Cukierman, head of the Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), said: “Jews feel in danger. Some are already leaving France.”
Europe has seen a surge in anti-Semitic attacks throughout the continent, and the situation in France, home to 500,000-600,000 Jews, is extremely dire.
A CRIF report, citing figures compiled by the French Interior Ministry, reported this summer that a total of 529 anti-Semitic acts were registered throughout July, as opposed to 276 during the same period last year. The incidents, which include violence against individuals, arson and vandalism, “exacerbate the growing unease that oppresses Jews in France each day and overshadows their future”, CRIF said in a statement.
Cazeneuve conceded that anti-Semitic attacks and threats have more than doubled in the past 10 months, and he called on the authorities to ensure that “none of them goes unpunished.”
A Vile Anti-Semitic Act
Relating to the home invasion incident, the minister said that the attack “was not a petty crime, but a cowardly, vile and anti-Semitic act. Behind this crime, this is an evil that is eating away at the Republic and which needs to be fought at all costs.”
Speaking later on French television, Prime Minister Manuel Valls stressed that “what happened in Creteil, this abominable crime, this violence, the rape of a young woman, [the attack on] a family because they are Jewish. That’s not France.”
Huge Exodus of French Jewry to Israel
Aliyah from France has more than doubled, from 2,650 in the Jewish year of 5773 (roughly Sept. 2012-Sept. 2013) to approximately 6,000 in 5774, marking the first time in history that more immigrants arrived from France than from any other country. The Jewish Agency states that the 125-percent increase is due, in part, to new programs geared to young French Jews as well as to joint efforts to ease the immigration and absorption process.
Another primary catalyst in the spike in aliyah from France is the rabid anti-Semitism there. A report from 2013 authored by Prof. Dina Porat of Tel Aviv University shows that the highest number of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe during 2013 occurred in France. French Jews have expressed an intensified feeling that personal safety and communal well-being have been jeopardized, while 73 percent attribute the surge in violence to radical Islam.
“It’s true. We’re thinking of leaving,” Sarah Landau, a French Jew, told AFP. “France today is not like the France I used to know. My Judaism was never a problem but today it’s a problem for our children.”
By United with Israel Staff
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