(photo credit: SITE OF THE ISRAELI CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF CRÉTEIL)
PARIS – Two young religious Jews were attacked Saturday evening in Creteil near Paris as they left a synagogue, the French Interior Ministry announced Sunday.
According to the ministry, the incident occurred around 8:30 pm. when the two brothers, aged 21 and 18, and both wearing kippot, were severely beaten by two unknown men, who then fled, one on foot and the second on a bicycle.
Speaking in the town of Tulle, where he went to vote for the European parliament, President Francois Hollande expressed “the will of France to allow all Jews of France to feel in perfect security and calm.”
He called on the country to do everything so that “such acts will not recur... We are doing everything in order to find the perpetrators and they will be found.”
Laurent Cathala, the mayor of Creteil, a city with a strong Jewish population south of Paris, said: “The aggression has an anti-Semitic characteristic, there is no doubt about it.”
The American Jewish Committee strongly condemned the attack. Reports indicate that both brothers were severely beaten with brass knuckles, but fortunately are expected to recover.
This assault follows Saturday’s attack in Brussels, where four people were murdered at the city’s Jewish Museum.
Belgian authorities are searching for the perpetrators.
“One anti-Semitic tragedy on the heels of another underscores the very real dangers for Jews today in the heart of Europe, even as we recognize that the governments stand steadfastly against any such manifestations,” said AJC executive director David Harris. “Clearly, far more still needs to be done – from beefing up security at Jewish institutions to stronger intelligence- gathering, from tougher judicial action to, in the longer term, better education in the school systems for fostering a climate of mutual respect.”
The AJC has been relentlessly calling attention to the growing menace of anti-Semitism in Europe since 2000, when a noticeable rise took place. Most recently, the AJC took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on May 13th to highlight the issue, while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking the day before at the AJC Global Forum, forcefully condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and said the government would not tolerate any such hateful acts.
AJC Paris director Simone Rodan is in very close touch with French government officials and Jewish community leaders in response to Saturday’s attack in Creteil.
Meanwhile, a young French jihadist died recently while carrying out a suicide attack near Moussoul, in northern Iraq. The man previously fought as a jihadist in Syria, according to sources close to the French special forces. The terrorist was identified as a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) named Abou al Qaqa al Faransi.