French Jews feel 'pandemic of anti-Semitism'

13th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

TEL AVIV, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP) , The archbishop of Paris and head of the Roman Catholic Church in France, Andre Vingt-Trois, said Monday that French Jews feel they are enduring a "pandemic of anti-Semitism" on his first visit to Israel."The Jewish community feel they are living through a pandemic of anti-Semitism," he told AFP, clarifying comments made earlier at a news conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog.

TEL AVIV, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP)

The archbishop of Paris and head of the Roman Catholic Church in France, Andre Vingt-Trois, said Monday that French Jews feel they are enduring a "pandemic of anti-Semitism" on his first visit to Israel."The Jewish community feel they are living through a pandemic of anti-Semitism," he told AFP, clarifying comments made earlier at a news conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog.

"It is a feeling felt by the Jewish community," he added.

Asked about he considered the state of anti-Semitism in France, the archbishop emphasised that "there are certainly points which need attention but France should not be turned into a battlefield."

Vingt-Trois talked about a "pandemic of anti-Semitism" in France during the news conference, saying he was "sensitive" to the feelings of French Jews who have suffered from anti-Semitism.

"They (Jews) know that in a serious situation, we are ready to be at their side," Vingt-Trois said, emphasising the "importance of relations between the Catholic church and Judaism".

The archbishop said he intended to convey a message of "hope" during his five-day visit to the Holy Land accompanied by 600 clerics.

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert paid tribute to France's efforts to combat anti-Semitism, after meeting leaders of the country's 600,000-strong Jewish community.

French-Israeli relations have often been strained over the question of anti-Semitism -- France is home to the world's third largest Jewish community as well as Europe's largest Muslim population, at five million.

In incendiary comments made in 2004, Israel's then prime minister Ariel Sharon urged French Jews to emigrate immediately to Israel, due to the threats he said they faced at home.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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