French Jews Fear Further anti-Semitism

French officials speak out against recent attacks.

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French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Aug. 28, 2014.
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Aug. 28, 2014. Credit: Reuters

An attack on a French couple is reviving worries about long-simmering anti-Semitic sentiment in France.

Assailants this week forced their way into an apartment in the Paris suburb of Creteil, tied up a young man and woman, demanded money and raped the woman, according to police.

The Service for the Protection of the Jewish Community in France says two suspects were given preliminary charges Wednesday night of religion-motivated violence, armed robbery, rape, sequestration and extortion. French media reported that a third suspect was later charged, apparently as an accomplice.

The young man, whom authorities have not identified, told France-Info radio Thursday that the attackers "apparently thought that given that my family is Jewish, Jews have money." He said the assailants repeatedly asked where the family money stash was kept and talked about attacking Jews.

France has western Europe's largest Jewish community, which has expressed concern recently about the growing political weight of the far right and a rise in Islamic extremism.

France's main Jewish organization, CRIF, decried the home attack and French President Francois Hollande reiterated the need to fight anti-Semitism.
"A family in a city in France was attacked because it is Jewish," Hollande said Thursday at the Elysee Palace. "When such dramas occur, such tragedies, it is not simply the family that is wounded, attacked. It is the greatness of France that finds itself wounded, damaged."

Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted Thursday that the attack in Creteil showed "the fight against anti-Semitism is a daily fight."

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