“In this sad period of recurring racist and anti-Semitic acts, recalling the ties that unite the city of Paris and the Jewish community is essential,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
On Sunday, “Place de Jérusalem” (Jerusalem Square) was inaugurated in Paris, France.
Approval for naming the plaza after the capital of Israel came in May from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who sent a letter to the president of the Central Consistory of France Joel Mergui, the organization responsible for Jewish religious life in France.
“In this sad period of recurring racist and anti-Semitic acts, recalling the ties that unite the city of Paris and the Jewish community is essential,” Hidalgo wrote to Mergui. “For this reason, your proposal for devoting a square to Jerusalem in the capital seems very sensible, also in order to remember the friendship and the unity between the city of Paris and the State of Israel.”
Jerusalem Square is centrally located in the city’s 17 Arrondissement (District). It is also the future site of the European Center of Judaism (ECJ), currently under construction.
A few meters away is the Sainte Odile Square, where two alleys were named after the three children killed in the Toulouse terror attack of 2012.
In attendance at the street-naming were Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Mayor Hidalgo; Israeli Ambassador to France Aliza Bin-Noun; Joel Mergui, president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France; Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia, and Chief Rabbi of Paris Michel Gugenheim.
“I want to thank Mayor Hidalgo and the city of Paris for this beautiful initiative to name a square in honor of Jerusalem,” Lion said at the inauguration, the Hebrew-language daily Hamodia reported. “This act strengthens the bond between our cities, two cities that have left their mark on the world.
“As Mayors, promoting tolerance, love and peace in our cities is a top priority. We must do all in our power to create and ensure coexistence and companionship between different sectors and religious groups.”
A small pro-Palestinian demonstration took place during the event.
This is not the first time that an area in France was named after the holy city of Jerusalem.
During the 19th-century, the headquarters of France’s judicial system, Palais de Justice, a residence for French monarchs for centuries, was located near a small alley named Rue Jerusalem. The street was thus named because pilgrims returning to France from the Holy Land would lodged there.
The palace was destroyed by fire in 1871, bringing the use of the street name to an end.
Since 1959, Jerusalem has a “Paris Square,” also called “France Square,” in the center of town.