France’s prime minister appeals for Jews to stay

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — France’s prime minister appealed to the Jews of France to remain in the country in the wake of a call by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for Jews to move to Israel.

“My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday, a day after two attacks in Copenhagen which mirrored two deadly attacks in Paris last month, the French news agency AFP reported.

The Rep - advertisement

In the wake of the Copenhagen attacks, including one outside of a synagogue which left a Jewish volunteer security guard dead, Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Sunday in a statement: “To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”

“The place for French Jews is France,” Valls said Monday. “I regret Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks. Being in the middle of an election campaign doesn’t mean you authorize yourself to make just any type of statement.”

Israeli national elections are scheduled for March 17.

Valls also said Monday that the threat of terror attacks remains high in France and that security measures would remain high for as long as necessary. France deployed 10,000 troops to protect Jewish buildings and other public sites in the wake of two attacks by Islamists last month that left 17 dead, including four Jewish men at a kosher supermarket.

Several hundred graves were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in northeastern France, it was reported Sunday. Valls, in a tweet, called the vandalism “a vile, anti-Semitic act, an insult to the memory” of the dead. He vowed to find those responsible.