Daily Israel Report

French Riots Fan Anti-Semitism

Moslem riots in France have fanned anti-Semitism, and four synagogues and Jewish schools have been firebombed, despite Jewish media reports that Jews are not being targeted more than others.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/12/2005, 9:39 PM / Last Update: 11/11/2005, 2:24 PM

"Walter H," who lives in France, stated that the violence against Jews has been country-wide. "In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In
Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed [as] were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles [and] a Jewish school in Creteil," he wrote in an e-mail..

He also related that a Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails and that vandals painted the words "Dirty Jew" on a statute of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris. He added, "15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks" in Bondy.

Most Jewish media have reported that Jewish leaders in France consider the recent riots a general expression of anger by North African immigrant communities against the government and society in general and not against Jews in particular.

Manek Weintraub, a leader in the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) told the British website TotallyJewish.com, "So far nothing has happened. There was a Molotov cocktail that seems to have been hurled at a small synagogue but nobody really knows about it. It [the riots] will concern the public authorities but Jews are largely absent from the story, which is welcome."

French police are on high alert toward the weekend following the beginning of the third week of the violence. Although the number of torched vehicles has declined, rioters till set 463 vehicles on fire Thursday while the number in the Paris area rose from 84 to 111.

Paris police chief Pierre Mutz, in an attempt to discourage fire bombers, has banned buying or transporting gasoline in jerry cans.