French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday night urged the Jews of France to remain in the country, saying that France without Jews “would not be France”.
Valls spoke at a memorial in Paris for four Jews who were murdered a year ago at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in the city as part of a spate of jihadist attacks that began with the deadly assault on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
The Prime Minister stressed the belated realization in his eyes of the rise of anti-Semitic crimes in France, and called to address the concerns of the Jewish community.
"The fact that French Jews leave their country in great numbers because they no longer feel safe...should have been for a long time for all of us an unbearable idea," said Valls.
"I said with my words, with my heart, and I will continue to repeat it because it is a profound conviction: without the Jews of France, France would not be France," he continued.
“Nothing can explain the killing at outdoor cafes. Nothing can explain the killing in a concert hall. Nothing can explain the killing of journalists and police. And nothing can explain the killing of Jews,” said the French Prime Minister.
A total of 17 people were murdered in the January 2015 attacks which rocked France and touched off a wave of Islamist violence that reached a head in November, when a group of Islamic State (ISIS) gunmen and suicide bombers unleashed mayhem in Paris, murdering 130.
The gathering to remember the victims was held outside the supermarket after sundown on Saturday, organized by the Jewish umbrella group CRIF.
"Despite continuing traumatic feelings, life has returned to normal with a renewed sense of fraternity," said Haim Korsia, France's grand rabbi.