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Begin: if French Authorities Can’t Protect Jews, Young Jews Should Be Prepared to Do So

Premier Menachem Begin warned today that unless French authorities take measures to protect Jews, he would call upon French Jewish youth “to actively defend their lives, the lives of the Jews and their human dignity.” Begin made the statement during the Cabinet session called to discuss the latest plan of special U.S. envoy Philip Habib to evacuate the PLO forces from west Beirut. (See separate story.)

The Premier’s statement, as it was read to the press at the end of the Cabinet session by Cabinet Secretary Dan Meridor, said:

“The murderous crime perpetrated yesterday in the heart of Paris was the result of the horrendous talk about Oradour and the anti-Israeli incitements (which is tantamount to anti-Jewish incitement) in The French press and news media. Again the cry of ‘Death to the Jews’ can be heard in the streets of Paris as it was during the Dreyfuss affair.”

The talk about Oradour which Begin referred to was a statement President Francois Mitterrand of France made last month when he reportedly compared Israel’s military action in Lebanon with the World War II massacre of 642 people by the Nazis in Oradour-sur-Glane in the southwest of France.

Begin’s statement today went on to say: “I am proud to be Prime Minister of democratic Israel, but above all, I am a Jew. If the French authorities will not prevent the neo-Nazi manifestation of the murder of Jews just because they are Jews, I will not hesitate as a Jew to call upon the youth of our people living in France to actively defend their lives, the lives of the Jews and their human dignity.”


Earlier in the day, several dozen students from France demonstrated outside the French Consulate in East Jerusalem, protesting the terrorist attack in Paris. The demonstrators chanted slogans of contempt for Mitterrand and demanded the resignation of Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson. They carried posters stating: “Six killed–Enough,” and “No more Jewish bloodshed.”

The Consulate building was tightly locked and Israeli police prevented the students from forcing their way into the building. Student representatives sought to present a message to the Consul General, which included a demand that the PLO office in Paris be closed down and charges that the French government and the news media created an atmosphere which encouraged violence against Jews.