France reports 1,040 anti-Semitic acts since October 7
05 November 2023
Paris (AFP) -
France has recorded more than a thousand anti-Semitic acts since the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas gunmen on Israel, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday.
'The number of anti-Semitic acts has exploded,' he told France 2 television, adding that 486 people have been arrested for such offences, including 102 foreigners.
Hamas gunmen attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages, Israeli authorities say.
Since then, Israel has relentlessly pounded the besieged Gaza Strip in its battle to destroy Hamas, levelling entire city blocks and killing more than 9,700 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
France's Jewish population, estimated at over 500,000, is the largest in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after Israel and the United States.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said Sunday that there had been 257 anti-Semitic acts in the Paris region alone, and 90 arrests.
There was no typical profile for those arrested, he added. They ranged from 'young kids who say very serious things' to people involved in the pro-Palestinian cause who had gone too far.
Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure called on Sunday for all political forces to mobilise against anti-Semitism.
In comments to Radio J, he suggested a demonstration in the next few days at Place de la Republique, a regular site for rallies in central Paris.
But his initiative immediately came under fire from politicians on the left for his failure to rule out allowing the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen to take part.
- Stabbing in Lyon -
Paris prosecutors are already investigating the daubing of dozens of Stars of David on buildings around the city and its suburbs last week.
The Union of Jewish Students of France said they were designed to mirror the way Jews were forced to wear the stars by the Nazi regime.
In the central city of Lyon, prosecutors said this weekend they suspected that anti-Semitism may have been behind an attack on a young Jewish woman, who was stabbed in her home there.
Police are treating the attack as attempted murder, they said, adding that the woman's life was not in danger and no arrest had been made.
And the mayor in the eastern city of Besancon on Sunday denounced what she said was a fresh wave of anti-Semitic graffiti there, after a first set appeared on October 31.
'We are witnessing an escalation of violence in the content of messages,' said Anne Vignot in a statement, noting that such behaviour could be prosecuted.