Three Jews were attacked Saturday night in Southeast France by 10 men wielding a hammer and an iron bar. Two of the victims, both wearing yarmulkes, were hospitalized in what the French Interior Ministry is calling an act of anti-Semitism.
This latest attack comes on the heels of a report released June 1 by the French Jewish community's protection service, known as the SPCJ, which documented a surge in anti-Semitic attacks throughout France in March and April. The impetus is believed to be the March 19 shooting at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, in which Muslim radical Mohamed Merah claimed the lives of three children and a rabbi.
The report states that the Toulouse shooting "triggered an explosion" in anti-Semitic attacks in France, with more than 90 incidents occurring in the ten days immediately following the shooting. In total, the Interior Ministry logged 148 anti-Semitic attacks in March and April, with 43 classified as violent. In the same months last year, only 14 violent attacks were recorded against Jews.
The last violent incident documented in the interim report occurred April 30 in Marseille, when self-identified Palestinians accosted a Jewish man and his girlfriend while promising to "exterminate" the Jews. The man sustained internal bleeding from the attack.
The report also noted 105 incidents of intimidation and threats against Jews in March and April, compared with 54 in the corresponding months in 2011.
SPCJ said the escalation in anti-Semitic action in France is "deeply worrisome" and that it demonstrates that some of the perpetrators feel "empathy" towards the Toulouse shooter, Merah.
For the full SPJC report, click here.