Paris assailant calls man in kippah “dirty Jew,” attacks him as he leaves synagogue – report

A man wearing a kippah was attacked on Friday night as he left a synagogue in Paris’s 20th arrondissement, according to reports in both French and Israeli press on Saturday, and taken to the hospital. The assailant called the man a “dirty Jew” before punching and kicking him, the Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported, and then fled. 

The event was addressed by the French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, who wrote in a post on X on Saturday that preliminary information suggested there had been an antisemitic attack in Paris Friday night.

“Everything is being done to find the perpetrator of this unspeakable act,” Darmanin wrote, adding that police have increased surveillance of areas “frequented by our Jewish compatriots who must not be the victims of tragedies taking place in the Middle East.”

The incident comes as Darmanin has increased security in France to prevent such incidents, telling the heads of French police forces to “please proceed with an immediate strengthening of security measures for Jewish community sites,” with a particular emphasis on schools, according to an internal communication reported by the Figaro newspaper.

Darmanin told the officers to ensure the “systematic presence of internal security forces around schools during students’ entries and exits,” and at places of worship during arrival and departure times. Darmanin called on “the intelligence services to assess threats to public order” and to pay “particular attention to possible future demonstrations.”

French police patrol at the Trocadero Square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris as French government puts nation on its highest state of alert after a deadly knife attack in northern France, October 15, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES)

Increased threat level amid reactions to Gaza convoy disaster

The internal communication cited “the high level of the terrorist threat which continues to weigh on our country and the tensions in the Middle East which have experienced a sudden increase in recent days.”

That article connected Darmanin’s order to fallout from the aid convoy disaster in Gaza, in which at least dozens of Palestinians were killed, for which Palestinians have alleged IDF responsibility or malicious intent, an account rejected by the IDF, which cites a stampede and general chaotic environment as primarily responsible for the loss of life. 

Antisemitic violence has been a longstanding threat to the Jewish community in France, and incidents have spiked in the months since October 7, when Hamas, the jihadist group that had governed Gaza since 2006, attacked Israel’s south, killing about 1,200, mostly civilians, taking hundreds hostage, and sparking an ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.