To guard against more potential attacks after the assault on Charlie Hebdo, France has deployed soldiers to protect French synagogues.
As antisemitic attacks rise in Europe, many Jews grow worried, frightened, and outraged. Some countries have experienced record highs of this deplorable hatred. The attacks have been largely committed by extremist Muslims. France has recently been hit particularly hard by these attacks. The local atmosphere is epitomized by the words of David, a French Jew, who told reporters that “She (his wife) wanted to go to the store to buy eggs and wondered if it was safe.” French soldiers have been deployed in the country after a recent string of terrorist attacks including one in a kosher market left four dead and the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
As the day began, 10,000 soldiers stood guard in front of various “sensitive areas” in France. Jewish schools account for nearly half of the soldiers. The rest guard synagogues, railways, airports, and even mosques. The government security at mosques was caused by recent actions in response to the attacks by extremists Muslims. Even though extremists are primarily to blame for many of the attacks against Jews, moderate Muslims are also victims to attacks made in retaliation to the Charlie Hebdo assault. Anti-Islamic sentiment has also grown. The soldiers will remain “as long as the threat exists,” said Col. Benoit Brulen of the French military.
Jewish leader Yonathan Arfi urges French Jews to stay in their home country in the face of antisemitism. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu has released a statement stating that Israel is the home of European Jews. He has invited any and all European Jews to emigrate to Israel. Accepting Netanyahu’s invitation, a record number of European Jews have fled.
Our hearts go out to the victims of the attacks and their families. They are also with European Jews as we look for an answer.