France rocked by 69-percent rise in anti-Semitism as acts become ‘relentless’, PM warns

After a two-year drop, France has been hit by a staggering 69-percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the past nine months, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday.

The French prime minister used the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of November 9, 1938, when Jews were “systematically” targeted by the Nazis, to warn about the “relentless” acts of anti-Semitism taking place in his country.

“We are very far from being finished with anti-Semitism,” Philippe said on his Facebook page, branding the number of acts perpetrated against Jews “relentless.”

Despite seeing a drop in offences in the past two years, France has in the past nine months been hit by a 69-percent increase, he said. Although the PM failed to specify how many anti-Semitic acts were recorded in the period, French newspaper Le Monde previously said that 311 incidents were reported last year.

“Every aggression perpetrated against one of our citizens because they are Jewish echoes like the breaking of new crystal,” Philippe said, before outlining government plans to crack down on the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment.

He said the government will be testing a group of magistrates and investigators to help tackle the issue. A national team will also be mobilized in schools from mid-November to aid teachers in fending off growing anti-Semitism, while there will also be a legislative process aimed at the withdrawal of hateful content online.

According to French news outlet France24, Jews in France make up less than one percent of the population, and yet they were victims of 40 percent of crime registered as racially or religiously motivated in 2017.

In March France was shocked when the body of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was found incinerated in her apartment in Paris and with 11 stab wounds. A man was arrested over what is suspected to have been an anti-Semitic attack.

Less than a year before that, 65-year-old teacher Sarah Halimi was beaten to death by a Franco-Malian man before he threw her from a third-story window. The case was prosecuted as an anti-Semitic crime.

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