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Macron condemns anti-Semitism after raping Jewish girl

French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a blue suit and a stern expression

President Macron asked his education minister to ensure that there are conversations about racism and anti-Semitism in schools (Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron said schools in France face the “scourge of anti-Semitism” after the rape of a 12-year-old Jewish girl in what police said was a hate crime.

According to French media, the girl told police that she was with a friend in a park in Courbevoie, northwest of Paris, last Saturday when she was approached by three boys – two aged 13 and one aged 12. She knew at least one of them.

The victim said the boys dragged her to a secluded area before hurling anti-Semitic insults at her and raping her.

The boys were arrested on Monday, and two of them were charged with gang rape, anti-Semitic insults and violence, and death threats.

French media also reported that one of the attackers threatened the girl with death if she reported to the police.

In response to the attack on Wednesday, people took to the streets to protest anti-Semitism, carrying signs, including one that read: “It could have been your sister.”

People take part in a demonstration against anti-Semitism in front of Paris City HallPeople take part in a demonstration against anti-Semitism in front of Paris City Hall

People took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against anti-Semitism (Reuters)

Macron spoke about the attack in Courbevoie during Wednesday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, during which he meets with members of his government.

He asked Education Minister Nicole Belloubet to ensure that schools hold a dialogue over the next few days on the issues of racism and hatred of Jews to prevent “hate speech with serious consequences” from “penetrating” classrooms.

Ms. Belloubet later wrote in

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal called the attack “utterly despicable, unbearable and unspeakable.”

“Unfortunately, since October 7, anti-Semitism in our country has escalated again,” he told TF1.

France’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, said he was “appalled.”

“Justice must decisively punish the perpetrators of this despicable act. No one can be exempt from this unprecedented wave of anti-Semitism,” Korsia wrote in X.

A January 2024 report by the Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) found that there was a 284% increase in the number of anti-Semitic acts in France between 2022 and 2023.

She also reported that last year almost 13% of such activities took place in schools. A significant increase was seen following the October 7 Hamas attacks on communities in Israel.

France is in the midst of a heated election campaign after President Macron called early parliamentary elections two weeks ago, and politicians from all sides reacted quickly.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed (LFI) party, condemned “anti-Semitic racism.”

Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right National Rally (RN), urged voters to keep in mind “the stigmatization of Jews by the far left” when they go to the polls this month.

Her protégé, Jordan Bardella, said that if elected, he would “fight against the anti-Semitism that has plagued France since October 7.”