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THE CRISES IN THE MIDEAST

French Taking Steps to Protect Jews

October 15, 2000|Associated Press

PARIS — Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said Saturday that the French government has taken steps to ensure the safety of Jewish institutions, which have been targeted in attacks apparently motivated by violence in the Middle East.

Jospin said that the Justice Ministry has advised French prosecutors to deal severely with anyone suspected of taking part in such attacks and that police will act aggressively to prevent "all acts and all attempted acts that are racist in character or anti-Semitic."

His remarks came just hours after a bakery owned by an Alsatian Jew in the eastern city of Strasbourg was set on fire, the words "Jewish Assassins" painted on the bread shop in black.

In Biarritz, where European Union leaders were meeting Saturday, French President Jacques Chirac condemned the anti-Jewish attacks, calling them "intolerable" and "unacceptable."

"Everyone in France must respect the values of fraternity, liberty and tolerance that are the very foundation of our republic," he said.

There have been dozens of anti-Semitic attacks against synagogues, Jewish schools and other institutions in France this month.

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