French Jewish leaders meet with Sarkozy


PARIS (JTA) — President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to hold a series of meetings aimed at solving the problem of rising anti-Semitism, according to a French Jewish leader.

Richard Prasquier, who heads the the umbrella group CRIF, also told reporters after a CRIF meeting with Sarkozy on Jan. 30 that the French leader said he would "further invest" in the issue.

CRIF leaders met with Sarkozy to convey the "concern" of French Jews over the increased anti-Semitism. Prasquier asked Sarkozy to beef up efforts at controlling anti-Jewish incidents, which have risen dramatically since Israel’s Gaza offensive.

Prasquier also described to the president Jewish concerns over "an anti-Semitism which has very strongly settled in a part of the [French] population, especially among some youth, and which expresses itself extremely quickly and brutally as soon as a match is sparked."

Since the end of December, when Israel started its 22-day Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the French government has enacted measures to increase security around Jewish institutions and anti-Israel protests.

Between Dec. 27 and Jan. 26, the SPCJ Jewish protection service tallied 113 anti-Semitic crimes against individuals and institutions. In all of 2007, the group recorded 386 acts, according to its affiliated CRIF Web site. The SPCJ coordinates with the French Interior Ministry.

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