Manuel Valls
Manuel Valls Reuters

In an interview with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that a mass migration of Jews out of the country spooked by last week's terror attacks would be evidence of “the failure of the French Republic.” Jews are essential to France's identity as a democracy, and without Jews, “the soul of the French Republic would be at risk,” Valls told Goldberg.

“The choice was made by the French Revolution in 1789 to recognize Jews as full citizens,” Valls told Goldberg. “To understand what the idea of the republic is about, you have to understand the central role played by the emancipation of the Jews. It is a founding principle.

“If 100,000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore,” Valls continued. “But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

According to Valls, France is at war with radical Islam, and he acknowledges that anti-Semitism – both the “old,” Christian and fascist kind, and the “new” Islamic kind is alive and well in the country. “There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” Valls told Goldberg. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

Four Jews were killed in the terrorist attack at the Hyper Cacher market in Paris last Friday. the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities said. CRIF identified the victims of the attack Friday as Yoav Hattab, 21, Philippe Braham, in his 40s, Yohan Cohen, 22, and Francois-Michel Saada, in his 60s.