Members of the Jewish community at the synagogue in Bordeaux, southwestern France. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday countered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calls for France's Jews to emigrate en masse to Israel.
"My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave," French news agency AFP quoted him as saying. "I regret Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks ... The place for French Jews is France."
Valls's statement came less than a day after several hundred Jewish tombs
were defaced with anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas in a cemetery near the northeastern French city of Strasbourg, the same day that a Jewish guard was shot outside a synagogue in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.
On Sunday, following deadly attacks in Denmark, Netanyahu called on European Jewry to move to Israel, saying that Israel is their home and the country is prepared to receive them. That same day, Israel's cabinet approved a NIS 180 million immigration plan aimed at assisting French, Belgian and Ukrainian Jews.
French Jewry is increasingly worried due to a significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks, some of them deadly.
On January 9, terrorist Amedy Coulibaly entered Paris's Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket and murdered Yohan Cohen (22), Philippe Braham (40), François-Michel Saada (64) and Yoav Hattab (21). It came only a days after a related terrorist killed 12 people at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Sam Sokol, Herb Keinon, Jpost.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report.