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The Frightening Reality for the Jews of France

While last week’s terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket – which left four Jewish men dead – brought international attention to the problem of anti-Semitism in France, members of the French Jewish community have been dealing with heightened violence for the past year. Tablet’s Stephanie Butnick provides a disturbing timeline of some of the anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2014:

This attack comes after a truly frightening year for French Jews. Nearly 7,000 French Jews moved to Israel this year, more than double the figure from the previous year. Smaller things, like the viral popularity of the quenelle gesture—a reverse Nazi salute—created by controversial Cameroonian-French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, compounded with attacks on visibly identifiable young Jews in Paris and the quickness with which anti-Israel protests during this summer’s Gaza war devolved into anti-Semitism, have fueled a climate in which many French Jews simply don’t feel safe.

Here’s what the past year looked like for French Jews.

Jan. 26, 2014: Video footage captures anti-government protestors shouting “Juif, la France n’est pas a toi”—“Jew, France is not yours”–at a demonstration in Paris.

March 2, 2014: A Jewish man is beaten on the Paris Metro by assailants who reportedly told him “Jew, we are going to lay into you, you have no country…”

March 20, 2014: A Jewish teacher is attacked leaving a kosher restaurant in Paris. After breaking his nose, the assailants drew a swastika on his chest…

May 19, 2014: A poll of 3,833 French Jews reveals 74 percent have considered emigrating.

June 9, 2014: Two Jewish teenagers and their grandfather are chased by an ax-wielding man and three accomplices as they walk to their synagogue in the Paris suburb of Romainville on Shavuot.

June 10, 2014: A Jewish teen wearing a yarmulke and tzitzit is attacked with a Taser by group of teens at Paris’ Place de la République square. In Sarcelles, two Jewish teens wearing yarmulkes are sprayed with tear gas

July 14, 2014: Bastille Day celebrations in Paris turn violent. Anti-Israel rioters attack the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue on Rue de la Roquette, and its congregants fight back.

July 16, 2014: More than 400 French Jewish emigreés arrive in Israel, most of them young families from Paris and its suburbs…

Sept. 2, 2014: Two French teenage girls are arrested for plotting to blow up a synagogue in Lyon. A Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence source said the teens were “part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services.”

Sept. 12, 2014: French anti-Semitic watchdog group SPCJ reports 527 anti-Semitic incidents from Jan. 1 to July 31, 2014. There were 423 incidents reported in all of 2013…

Nov. 12, 2014: In a new spree of anti-Semitic incidents in Paris, a kosher restaurant is firebombed, and a Jewish student wearing a yarmulke is assaulted outside his private high school…

Dec. 2, 2014: France votes to recognize Palestine as a state, which the Israeli embassy in Paris says sends “the wrong message to leaders and people in the region.”

Dec. 31, 2014: France states the country from which the largest number of Jews immigrated to Israel in 2014. Nearly 7,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel, double the 2013 figure of 3,400

Tags: Anti-Semitism , Europe

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