PARIS (JTA) – A car containing Molotov cocktails rammed into the door of a French synagogue and burst into flames.
A rabbi and about 10 of his adult students in the Toulouse synagogue during the attack Monday night fled unharmed. A second car containing Molotov cocktails was found near the synagogue, according to police.
The French Jewish community and government expressed their outrage and concern that anti-Semitism is on the rise in reaction to the current Israeli operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism also reported that a 29-year-old Jewish man was beaten by a group of assailants Sunday near the location of a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris that turned violent. The attackers yelled "Palestine will vanquish."
The bureau’s president, Sammy Ghozlan, said less violent cases of anti-Judaism were reported to be occurring daily since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began more than a week ago.
"Now we’ll start to see a rise in young couples making aliyah" in response, he told JTA.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie condemned the Toulouse attack as "stupid and revolting," and assured that police would do "the maximum" to find those responsible.
Alliot-Marie on Monday night had already gathered French Jewish and Muslim leaders to discuss rising tensions between the two religions in hopes of maintaining calm following countrywide pro-Palestinian rallies on Sunday. The rallies included the burning of Israeli flags and calls for Israel’s destruction.
"The aggression that was expressed during the protest inspires fear," Richard Prasquier, the president of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, told the French daily le Figaro in a Monday interview.