Soldiers guard a Paris synagogue. (Serge Attal/FLASH90) (Serge Attal/FLASH90)
France anti-Semitism

A Jewish teenager was beaten by four young men, seemingly of North African descent, in an area of Paris that has seen a number of unsolved anti-Semitic attacks.

A Parisian Jew demonstrates against anti-Semitism in Europe. (Photo: Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

A Parisian Jew demonstrates against anti-Semitism. (Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

A Jewish teenager was savagely beaten in Paris on Friday on his way home to prepare for the Sabbath. The four assailants were described by witnesses as appearing to be of North African origin. The attack took place in the Buttes Chaumont neighborhood, whose large Jewish population has experienced a rash of anti-Semitic incidents in recent months.

The attack was reported in French-Jewish newspaper JSS News. The 16-year-old victim, who was wearing a yarmulke, was walking on Rue Manin in the 19th arrondissement (district) when three young men, estimated to be between 17 and 20 years of age, assaulted him. They stole his shoes and smashed his phone. Two of the attackers then held him down while a third rained blows on his body and head. One of his eyes was severely damaged. A fourth man, also seemingly North African, happened to pass by, and instead of assisting the victim, joined in the attack.

The assailants fled when a witness called police. The Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme (BNVCA), the local organization against anti-Semitism, vowed to assist the victim and asked the police to do everything possible to identify and arrest the attackers.

The area around Buttes Chaumont Park has a sizable Jewish population. In recent months, there has been a spate of attacks on Jewish businesses there. No culprits have been identified.

Paris has seen a number of high-profile attacks against Jews by Muslim youths of North African origin, the most prominent being the murder of four hostages at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in January. Just days before this latest incident, a Jewish mother in Sarcelles, an area in northern Paris, was attacked by three men hurling anti-Semitic insults, such as, “Hitler didn’t finish the job.” Two weeks ago, vandals defaced a plaque memorializing Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew who was kidnapped and tortured to death in 2006.

The prevalence of anti-Semitism in France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, has led to a surge in emigration, especially aliyah to Israel. Some 50,000 French Jews approached the Jewish Agency for information about aliyah in 2014. Among them, 7,000 chose to come to Israel, marking the first time in history that France was the primary source of new immigrants to Israel.