(JTA) — France’s interior minister vowed to make the fight against anti-Semitism a “national cause” during a rally near Paris protesting the brutal attack of a Jewish couple.
Hundreds of Jews gathered Sunday in Creteil, the site of the Dec. 1 break-in at the couple’s apartment by three men. A 19-year-old woman was raped while another suspect guarded her 21-year-old boyfriend and a third withdrew money from a cash machine.
The assailants told the male victim that they targeted the Jewish couple living there because they believed that Jews always have some money.
“We need to make the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a national cause by getting all bodies concerned involved,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told the rally. “The republic will defend you with all its force because without you, it would no longer be the republic.”
Cazeneuve confirmed the “anti-Semitic nature” of the attack following the incident.
Roger Cukierman, the president of France’s umbrella group for Jewish organizations, CRIF, told the rally that Jews in France feel endangered.
“Some are already leaving France,” he said. “We feel that something has changed. It’s no longer just graffiti or minor incidents; these are death threats. It cannot go on like this.”
From Jan. 1 to July 31, the SPCJ security service of the French Jewish community documented 527 anti-Semitic incidents compared to 276 in the same period of 2013.