The French president denounces the “scourge of anti-Semitism” after the rape of a Jewish girl

French President Emmanuel Macron has said schools in France are being threatened by the “scourge of anti-Semitism” after a 12-year-old Jewish girl was raped in what police called a hate crime.

According to French media, the girl told police she had been in a park in Courbevoie, northwest of Paris, with a friend last Saturday when three boys, two aged 13 and one aged 12, approached her. She knew at least one of them.

The victim said the boys dragged her to a secluded location before hurling anti-Semitic insults at her and raping her.

The boys were arrested on Monday and two of them were charged with gang rape, anti-Semitic insults and violence, and threatening to kill.

French media also reported that one of the attackers threatened to kill the girl if she went to the police.

Macron spoke about the Courbevoie attack during a Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday, where he met members of his government.

He called on Education Minister Nicole Belloubet to ensure that schools hold a dialogue on racism and Jew-hatred in the coming days to prevent “hate speech with serious consequences” from “infiltrating” classrooms.

Belloubet later wrote in

The Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, said he was “horrified.”

“Justice must firmly punish the perpetrators of this despicable act. No one can be excused from this unprecedented anti-Semitic surge,” Korsia wrote in X.

A January 2024 report from the Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) said there had been a 284% increase in anti-Semitic acts in France between 2022 and 2023.

He also said that almost 13% of these events last year took place in schools. A significant increase was reported following the October 7 Hamas attacks on communities in Israel.

France is in the midst of a heated election campaign after President Macron called early parliamentary elections two weeks ago, and politicians on all sides were quick to intervene.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Insoumise (LFI) party, denounced “anti-Semitic racism.”

Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right National Rally (RN) party, urged voters to take into account the “stigmatization of Jews by the far left” when they go to the polls later this month.

His protégé, Jordan Bardella, said that if elected he would “fight the anti-Semitism that has been plaguing France since October 7.”

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