French Jews ‘on edge’ as terror trial starts
CONCERNS over anti-Semitism in France are set to be reignited tomorrow when the trial opens of the brother of Mohamed Merah, whose attack on a Jewish school in 2012 sparked an exodus of French Jews.
Abdelkader Merah, 35, is accused of helping his brother to plot his rampage. He shot dead three soldiers and four Jews, including three pupils at a Jewish school in the southern city of Toulouse. Mohamed Merah, a self-proclaimed Is- lamist, died in a police raid after the killings. About 300 Jewish families have since left Toulouse for Israel or other countries, the French Jewish council CRIF estimates. Some 20,000 French Jews emigrated from 2014 to 2016, mainly to Israel, Britain, the US and Canada.
Jérôme Fourquet, of the IFOP polling firm, said the attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse was a “decisive event that prompted Jews to leave France or to consider leaving”. Haïm Korsia, France’s chief rabbi, said French Jews felt abandoned by the nation in the aftermath of the school killings.
“There was a sort of distancing, an indifference. We felt very alone at demonstrations and ceremonies. We had to wait until January 2015 [after the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks in Paris] to experience the fraternity we would so much have liked to feel then.”
Emigration has now slowed, but Europe’s largest Jewish community, estimated at 500,000, “remains on edge,” Mr Fourquet said.