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Concern is growing among France’s Jewish population after Stars of David were sprayed on house facades in various locations in Paris.
The number of hate crimes with anti-Semitic overtones is also increasing in the wake of the war between Israel and Hamas.
In recent weeks, as many hate crimes have been registered in the country as in the whole of 2022.
Over the past week, the Stars of David, painted with blue spray paint, began appearing on facades in the suburbs of Vanves, Fontenay-aux-Roses and Aubervilliers – and earlier this week on facades in southern Paris.
In the municipality of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine outside the French capital, the text “Palestine will win” has also been sprayed in connection with the graffiti on several facades.
So far, around 60 stars have been found in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, while the number in the suburbs is higher. The Paris prosecutor’s office has now opened an investigation into hate crimes, writes Le Parisien.
The Stars of David are also condemned by the country’s political establishment.
French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, whose father was in the Auschwitz concentration camp, calls them “heinous acts”, while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo writes in a post on Platform X that “anti-Semitism has no place in our republic”.
Since the terrorist-labeled Islamist movement Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, with massacres in which upwards of 1,400 mostly civilians were murdered, tensions have increased in France. The country is estimated to have the world’s third largest Jewish population and the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, AP writes.
The number of hate crimes with anti-Semitic elements has increased greatly. Since the Hamas attack and Israel’s subsequent bombing of Gaza, 857 hate crimes have been reported – almost doubling from 2022, according to the country’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
– During three weeks, there have been almost as many anti-Semitic hate crimes as during the whole of last year, he tells BFMTV.
Among Paris’s Jewish population, many testify to a growing sense of insecurity after recent events.
According to Jacques Isaac Azeroual, who runs a kosher butcher shop in the city’s 19th arrondissement, home to a large Jewish population, the number of customers has halved following the developments in Israel and Gaza.
– People are sad. They are afraid to go out shopping, he tells AFP, adding that he now covers his kippah with a hat when he leaves his shop.
Even Alice, who urges her children to be more vigilant, testifies to a growing sense of insecurity.
– As a French woman and a Jewess in today’s France, I am afraid, she tells BFMTV.