France recorded a 58 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012, according to a report from the French Jewish community. In total, 614 anti-Semitic acts were documented in 2012, compared with 389 in 2011, the report found.
The report, by the community’s protection service SPCJ, also shows that 55% of all racist attacks in France are committed against Jews.
"The rise in anti-Semitic incidents in France must remain a priority in the national political debate," Richard Prasquier, the president of France's Jewish community's umbrella organization, said in response to the report. The most extreme incidents of 2012 were the terrorist attacks against the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in the southern city of Toulouse — in which a Muslim radical gunned down a rabbi, three children and three French paratroopers — and a Jewish grocer in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles. The attack against the school spread panic throughout the wider community, especially because it was perpetrated by a French citizen of Algerian roots who was raised in France.
The French Jewish umbrella organization believes that the issue must become part of national and public dialogue because it also hurts France's reputation. In the last 13 years, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has steadily risen.
"Jews, just because of their religion, need security to protect them when they study and when they pray," Prasquier said. "Entering a store or riding the subway are causes for concern to Jewish youth."