|Photo by: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier|
French police: 3 Jewish teens attacked in city near Lyon
By JOSPEH STRICH AND MARC BENCHETRIT IN LYON
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls calls attack an act “of a very extreme grave nature.”
Three Jewish teenagers – a girl and two boys who were wearing kippot – were
attacked in the French city of Villeurbanne, near Lyon, on Saturday evening,
police announced late Sunday night.
The information about the incident
was published only 24 hours after it happened, since the authorities wanted to
keep the investigation a secret.
The incident started at 7 p.m., which
was still Shabbat in France, when the three Jews were walking near the Bet
Menachem school in the city center of Villeurbanne, which is in fact part of the
Lyon metropolitan area, and has an important Jewish community, mainly of
The teenagers accidentally met a group of young men,
who may have been of foreign origin. The two groups exchanged suspicious
regards, and before the young men insulted the Jewish teens, using racial slurs.
After that, the aggressors, who lived in the area, left, but soon returned,
armed with hammers and iron bars.
The young men then beat up the Jewish
teens, leaving one of the boys with an open wound on his skull, and the girl
with a neck injury.
There were no cameras in the area and the police
decided to put more men there after the incident.
The three victims were
hospitalized in the Tonkin clinic of Villeurbanne before being sent
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls published a leaflet against
these acts “of a very extreme grave nature,” which constitute, according to him,
“a deliberate attack against the [French] Republic.”
perpetrated “against our republican model, which allows everyone, without any
distinguishing mark, to live freely and in total security, regardless of
religious affiliation,” said the minister.
Marcel Amsellem, the president
of the umbrella organization of French Jewry, denounced in a statement the
“climate of animosity and stigmatization of the State of Israel leading to
hatred and unacceptable acts.”
Lyon’s mayor, Socialist Party politician
Gerard Collomb, also spoke of “unacceptable aggression that shows anti–Semitic
behavior that we cannot tolerate in the Lyon region, where for years we have
been working in cooperation with religious and community leaders so that all can
live in coexistence and solidarity.”
Alain Jaqubovitz, the chairman of
the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, said, “We are in the
20th century, yet young people have been attacked because they wore
Johan Sportouch, the secretary- general of the Union of Jewish
Students, said he “was concerned by the resurgence of anti-Semitic acts in
France” “Jewish citizens are a recurring target. Since the Toulouse affair, one
can no longer underestimate the seriousness of anti-Semitic aggression,” he
continued. In Villeurbanne and the Lyon region, news of the attack spread
quickly and caused indignation in the Jewish community, local newspapers