Manuel Valls
Manuel VallsReuters

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday said he was "surprised" there were not more demonstrations on the streets against anti-Semitism and racism, in response to a brutal anti-Semitic attack on a young couple in Paris last week.

"What happened in Creteil, this abominable crime, this violence, the rape of a young woman, (the attack on) a family because they are Jewish. That's not France," stressed Valls, who spoke on French television and was quoted by AFP.

The comments followed a vow by France's interior minister earlier Sunday to make the fight against anti-Semitism a "national cause".

Speaking at a rally in the Paris suburb of Creteil, where the attack took place on Monday, Bernard Cazeneuve said, "We need to make the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a national cause by getting all bodies concerned involved." 

"The Republic will defend you with all its force because, without you, it would no longer be the Republic," he added.

In what President Francois Hollande has described as an "unbearable" attack, assailants stormed the flat of a young couple, raping the woman and stealing jewellery and bank cards.

According to the male victim, the attackers told them they had not chosen the place at random.

"We know that your brother is the manager of a big clothing chain. We know he has the cash till," one of them said, according to the victim, who was interviewed on French television.  

"In any case, you Jews, you have money," the assailant added, according to the victim.

France has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in recent years, and it flared particularly during this past summer's Operation Protective Edge, with violent protests in Paris

In one incident, hundreds of Muslim extremists attacked a major synagogue in Paris, provoking clashes with Jewish youths who rushed to defend the site and worshippers trapped inside.

Following the attack in Creteil, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) expressed shock and horror and called for a robust and immediate government response and a plan of action to combat anti-Semitism in France.