• France's news in English

Jewish man beaten near synagogue in France

Sophie Inge · 27 Apr 2015, 10:25

Published: 27 Apr 2015 10:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An investigation is underway in France to track down a group of men who allegedly attacked a 53-year-old Jewish man on Saturday as he was leaving the Saint-Ouen synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis department north of Paris. 

The man, who owns a supermarket and has lived in the area for 15 years, said he was leaving the synagogue with a Rabbi at around 1:20 pm on Saturday when he was pursued by a man aged around 25.

As he walked along Rue du Docteur Bauer the man following him repeatedly called him “dirty Jew”. When he failed to react the attacker spat at him and when he told the man to stop, things turned ugly.

“He head-butted me, I was bleeding everywhere,” the victim was quoted as saying by Le Parisien.

He then spoke of how he tried to defend himself before the attacker was joined by two other men.

“They beat me up. They kicked me in the leg, back and that’s when the first attacker took out a knife. I heard the others saying ‘Go on, stab him, Jew’,” he recalled.

He said he then jumped on his attacker to get him to drop the knife and hit him as people shouted ‘call the police!’

The attackers eventually fled after kicking him in the stomach.

The victim reported the incident on Sunday and police are now working to identify the attackers and to determine the anti-Semitic nature of the attack.

The attack has been condemned by the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA).

“Even if the sites for the Jewish community are under surveillance, Jews are still vulnerable targets in the streets and in shops,” the organization said in a statement to Le Parisien.

SEE ALSO: France's sorry record of anti-Semitic attacks

The attack comes amid a continuing and worrying rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in France.

Story continues below…

Last year, 851 anti-Semitic acts were reported, compared with 423 the previous year, with acts of physical violence jumping to 241 from 105, according to France's Jewish umbrella organization CRIF.

"These anti-Semitic acts represent 51 percent of racist acts committed in France while Jews make up only one percent of the French population," said the group in January.
The Jewish population in France, the biggest in Europe, is thought to number between 500,000 and 600,000.
The CRIF group said there was a "very significant and very worrying increase in the violence of anti-Semitic acts" and warned that "anti-Semitic" prejudices were rife in the country.
The CRIF report was released just weeks after four Jewish men were shot dead at a kosher supermarket in Paris by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly on January 9th, two days after brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi killed 12 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

Less than a month later, soldiers who were protecting a Jewish centre in Nice were attacked by a knife-wielding man and in February hundreds of Jewish graves were vandalized in a suspected anti-Semitic act that shocked the country.

On Sunday President Francois Hollande warned that the continued existence of racism and anti-Semitism meant "the worst could yet return", as he led commemorations at Struthof in the Alsace region, site of the only Nazi camp on French soil.


Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available