France announced an ambitious government plan to spend 100 million euros ($107 million) on a program to combat rising anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.
A 40-point program introduced by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will include increased penalties for crimes deemed to have been fueled by anti-Semitism and racism as well as increasing awareness and local efforts against prejudice.
“Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners, homophobia are increasing in an unbearable manner,” Valls said in the Paris suburb city of Créteil, which was the scene of a brutal attack on a Jewish man and his girlfriend last December, AFP reported. That attack was followed by the January 2015 attack by Muslim terrorist Amedy Coulibaly on a Paris kosher supermarket that left four dead, during the same week as the Islamist shooting that killed 12 people at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
Anti-Semitism doubled from 2013 to 2014 in France, with an increasing number of Jews leaving France for Israel.
“French Jews should not be afraid of being Jewish,” said Valls. “French Muslims should not be ashamed of being Muslims.”