French-Jewish teacher arrested for allegedly lying about anti-Semitic attack


(JTA) — A French-Jewish teacher who in November told police he had been assaulted by jihadists in Marseille was arrested on suspicion that he lied about the attack.

Rabbi Tsion Saadon was taken into custody Wednesday following the discovery of inconsistencies in his account of the alleged Nov. 18, 2015 attack, which prompted passionate condemnations by police and even by President Francois Hollande, the La Provance daily reported.

Saadon is suspected of giving a false deposition and may be indicted, an unnamed police source is quoted as saying.

On the day of the alleged attack, police in Marseille briefed media outlets, relaying to them the version given to them by Saadon. The rabbi said he was stabbed by a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the symbol of the Islamic State terrorist group who shouted anti-Semitic profanities at him with two other men.

Saadon, a history teacher at the Yavne Jewish day school in Marseille, displayed what appeared to be minor injuries.

He told police that one of the two men whom Saadon said did not assault him physically showed him a picture of Mohammed Merah, the killer of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012, on his cellphone during the attack.

But the injuries he showed police as resulting from the incident were inconsistent with the version he gave, another unnamed police source told La Provance.

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