Netanyahu slams 'shocking' anti-Semitic vandalism in France

Rallies are planned in Paris and other French cities to denounce a flare-up of anti-Semitic vandalism

Afp February 19, 2019

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday slammed the "shocking" anti-Semitic vandalism of a French cemetery, which prompted a cabinet colleague to urge French Jews to "come home" to Israel.

"Today something shocking happened in France. Eighty Jewish graves were desecrated with Nazi symbols by wild anti-Semites," Netanyahu said in a video clip released by his office.

"I call on the leaders of France and Europe to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism. It is a plague that endangers everyone, not just us," he said.

The graves were daubed with swastikas at a Jewish cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim, close to the border with Germany in the Alsace region.

Photos show the Nazi symbols in blue spray-painted on the damaged graves, one of which bears the words "Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe" ("Black Alsatian Wolves"), a separatist group with links to neo-Nazis in the 1970s.

Immigration Minister Yoav Gallant said the vandalism "conjures images of dark times in the history of the Jewish people."

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"Last week I visited the Jewish community in Paris, which is under an anti-Semitic attack and in the process of assimilation."

"I firmly condemn the anti-Semitism in France and call on the Jews -- come home, immigrate to Israel," Gallant said in a statement.

The chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, which also deals with Jewish immigration to Israel, called the vandalism "another indication of the rampant anti-Semitism spreading throughout Europe, threatening Jews in the streets."

"It's time for governments to wake up!" Isaac Herzog wrote on Twitter.

Rallies were planned in Paris and other French cities Tuesday to denounce a flare-up of anti-Semitic vandalism in recent weeks, often coinciding with "yellow vest" anti-government demonstrations.

Politicians on both the right and left urged massive participation after a prominent French writer was the target of an anti-Semitic tirade by a protester in Paris on Saturday.

Last year, 2,679 Jews from France immigrated to Israel, according to Gallant's ministry.


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