A dispute between neighbors in France ended with the death of a 90-year-old Jewish man, and police do not suspect an antisemitic motive, JTA reported Friday.
Police arrested a 51-year-old neighbor of the deceased, René Hadjaj, sometime after Hadjaj’s death on Tuesday evening outside his home in Lyon in eastern France, the Tribune Juive Jewish newspaper reported on Friday.
The suspect had pushed Hadjaj to his death from an elevated story of their residential building, prosecutors told Le Progrès, a local newspaper.
Le Progrès also reported that police had initially investigated a possible antisemitic motive but have now excluded it. They believe the incident was the result of an argument that was unconnected to the fact that Hadjaj was Jewish. French media have not reported the identity of the suspect or other details about him.
Reports about the incident, however, evoked anger and disbelief among multiple French Jews on social networks and beyond, who noted the similarities between this case and the murder of Jewish woman Sarah Halimi in 2017.
Halimi, an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties, died after being pushed out of the window of her Paris flat by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who was shouting "Allahu Akbar" during the act.
Traoré confessed to the killing but a subsequent psychiatric evaluation determined that he was not responsible for his actions. While A French court said he acted out of antisemitic motives, it deemed he smoked large amounts of marijuana that triggered a psychotic episode, making him not criminally responsible for his actions at the time of Halimi’s slaying.
In the aftermath of the ruling, French Jews led a wave of infuriated protests.
In a more recent case, a Jewish man, Jérémie Cohen, died in a suburb of Paris after running into the path of a passing tram while escaping a group of individuals on the street.
Cohen’s death was initially treated as an accident until his family recovered footage of the assault. French prosecutors indicted two men for assaulting Cohen, but the indictment does not mention any antisemitic motive.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)