Report: France Scaling Back Security of Jewish Communities Though Attacks on the Rise
The wreath left outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Jan. 16, to pay homage to the Jewish victims of the Jan. 9 terrorist attack at that site. Photo: U.S. Department of State.
Although at least three antisemitic acts are committed daily against Jews in France, it appears French security has been scaling back efforts to protect the country’s anxious Jewish communities, the British Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday.
Just five months after a deadly terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, “the truth is that this [French] military protection is, unofficially, waning,” reported the JC.
The report stemmed from concerns among synagogues and community centers, especially outside urban centers, that soldiers have begun providing only preliminary security at events, leaving the premises shortly after ceremonies or other engagements begin.
“Some small shuls have been told that they will not be guarded for an event that has fewer than ten participants,” said the JC, which is potentially devastating for Orthodox or other smaller communities in which barely a quorum is summoned for daily prayers.
The report came amid an announcement by the French antisemitism watchdog the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme that on average three antisemitic acts are committed against Jews in France every day.
The head of France’s department to combat racism and antisemitism, Gilles Clavreul, confirmed those figures, according to the JC.
And since the January siege at the kosher supermarket, in which an armed gunmen who swore allegiance to the Islamic State slaughtered four Jewish hostages, 22 complaints of violent incidents have been filed.
One of those involved the brutal beating of a French teenager by four assailants in north-east Paris. The boy reportedly lost 30 percent of his vision as a result of the attack.
In addition, since the HyperCacher attack, the watchdog said it has registered 72 online incidents and 60 accounts of verbal abuse and threats.
Adding to an air of despondency, French Jews are reporting incidents of hateful crimes against their community “less and less,” said the bureau.
“If the perpetrators get arrested they are released again and just continue with the attacks,” said BNVCA director Danielle Ferra. “If they go to prison, they become Islamist extremists. We don’t know what to do.”
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