The assault of an 8-year-old boy in the street on Monday night provoked widespread indignation and aroused the concerns of the Jewish community of Sarcelles, already hard hit by an anti-Semitic riot in 2014.
"When I was little there were Muslims, Jews, Christians, blacks and whites .... They were just friends. "In Sarcelles (Val-d'Oise), this huge tag proudly appears close to several religious buildings, and three steps from a college whose storefront is adorned with a fringing: "Freedom, Equality, Fraternity, Secularism." Yet, ten minutes walk from here, two days ago, a child was attacked because of his religion.
Monday evening, 18:30. An 8-year-old boy walks out of his home to attend a tutoring class. Bearer of clearly identifiable Jewish symbols - kippa and tsitsit - he walks a few meters Avenue of 8-May-1945 before falling on two young boys of fifteen years. They knock him down and kick him. The prosecution of Pontoise opens an investigation and retains the mobile anti-Semitic.
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The news spreads among the Jewish community of Sarcelles, one of the largest in France - between 10,000 and 15,000 people according to sources interviewed. In this city of Val-d'Oise, the rectangle made up of the avenues of 8-May-1945 and Paul-Valéry, as well as boulevards Albert-Camus and Édouard-Branly, is even nicknamed the "little Jerusalem".
Many businesses run by members of the Jewish community - Hebrew Bookshop, Kosher butchers, pharmacy, pastry shop and even Chinese restaurant - surround the synagogue. A little further on stands a stele in memory of Yoan Cohen, one of the victims of the HyperCacher, and a place is now called Sandler-and-Monsonego place, named after the victims of the Toulouse slaughter in 2012.
An anti-Jewish riot in 2014
The aggression of the boy painfully echoed the events of 2014. On July 20 of that year, a pro-Palestinian demonstration banned degenerates into an anti-Jewish riot. "They wanted to burn the synagogue, but they could not, so they burned shops. It was a terrible day, which created a big break, "recalls Moses Kahloun, president of the Jewish community of Sarcelles.
Three weeks ago, a Jewish high school girl was also attacked in the street. The antisemitic motive has not been retained, but for most members of the community, it is indeed an anti-Jewish act. "I'm convinced. Do not be afraid to put words on the record. She was coming out of a Jewish high school, wearing well-known clothes in the neighborhood, "insists Moses Kalhoun.
"We do not feel safe here anymore"
As a result, growing discomfort is gaining the "little Jerusalem" regulars. "I'm shocked, but not so surprised, unfortunately. For fifteen years, little by little, the climate is getting worse, "says Eddie, a 41-year-old social worker. "Sarcelles, it was magnificent. But today, it is no longer the Sarcelles before, "sighs Marlene, 75 years including 41 spent in Val-d'Oise. "It's more the same happiness. France is the most beautiful country in the world, but the authorities have to wake up quickly! "Ignites Serge *, 50 years old.
Some even think of leaving the city and settling in Israel. "Everyone's leaving," says Marlene. "More and more people have the alyah in a corner of their head. We start thinking, we do not feel safe here, "says Michael, boss of a kosher butcher shop. "I'm not afraid of a wave of departures for now," tempered Moses Kalhoun. "But if the attacks continue, the question will begin to arise ..."
Sarcelles, "laboratory" of living together
"Paradoxically, in Sarcelles - where I go regularly - the climate is great," says Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France. "Largely thanks to the commitment of successive mayors - François Pupponi, Nicolas Maccioni - it is a place where there is respect for everyone in what it is. What makes the situation even more terrible: this city is a laboratory of living together that works! "
This term "laboratory", Mayor Nicolas Maccioni uses it too. "This makes us a target for those who are the enemies of the values of our Republic." Aware of the "feeling of undeniable worry of Sarcellois of Jewish confession", the city intends to "react firmly" while "guarantor" the good living together that has characterized and still characterizes our city today. "
"The whole Republic is being attacked"
After the attack, the authorities' response was immediate. Witness the numerous police patrols that circulate in the "Jewish Quarter". The residents also appreciated the reaction of President Emmanuel Macron, who said Wednesday morning that "every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his confession, it is all the Republic that is being attacked ".
"The bottom line is that the Jewish community can continue to live normally," said Joel Mergui, president of the Central Israelite Consistory of France. And for that, "we must build a plan to combat anti-Semitism," said René Taïeb, president of the Union of Jewish Communities of Val-d'Oise. Premier Édouard Philippe has announced that he will present, in a few weeks, a new interdepartmental plan on this subject. "We must innovate!" Concludes René Taïeb.
* The name has been changed
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