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Jewish man beaten near synagogue in France

A Jewish man has described how he feared for his life after being beaten by a group of men armed with a knife as he left a synagogue near Paris. The latest anti-Semitic attack comes as France vows to tackle a rise in anti-Jewish incidents.

Jewish man beaten near synagogue in France
Security was stepped up outside France's synagogues in the wake of the Paris terror attacks earlier this year. Photo: Jean Pierre Muller/AFP

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.

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.

 

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CRIME

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.

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