The French Jewish community is on high alert following last Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris by Islamic State, as anti-Semitic attacks have historically accompanied acts of Islamic terrorism in France.
“Anti-Semitism is a core tenet of Islamic extremist ideology, so attacks on Jews by ISIS sympathizers should come as no surprise,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), after a Jewish school teacher was stabbed by three ISIS supporters in Marseilles, south France.
“Attacks on French Jews have been paired with attacks on France as a whole several times,” Mr Greenblatt told EJP.
The stabbing victim, Tsion Sylvain Saadoun (pictured above), a history and geography teacher at a nearby Jewish school, was approached by three men on two motorbikes, outside his home in Marseilles at around 8pm. According to French police, the men asked the victim, who was wearing a kippa (Jewish skull-cap), whether he was Jewish before stabbing him in the arm and leg while shouting anti-Semitic insults.
The men halted their attack when interrupted by the arrival of a car, and fled the scene. The French authorities are still searching for the perpetrators of the attack. Mr Saadoun was taken to hospital, but was not in mortal danger.
One of the men was wearing a t-shirt bearing ISIS imagery, while another showed the victim a picture of Mohammed Merah on his mobile phone. Merah, who claimed affiliation with al Qaeda, murdered three Jewish children and a rabbi at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.
Mr Greenblatt added: “Merah killed French soldiers and then attacked a Jewish school. In January, Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher [a Jewish supermarket] were attacked. Following Friday’s horrific attacks in Paris by ISIS, the French Jewish community has been on high alert, and we are alarmed and saddened by this stabbing.”
The French Interior Ministry issued a statement saying: “Everything is being done to find and question those responsible for these unspeakable acts, who must face justice.”
The statement reminded people of “the government’s determination to combat all forms of racism and anti-Semitism, and to severely punish advocating terrorism,” adding “more than ever, the French must come together around the values of the Republic.”