France is boosting security around Jewish institutions, but local Jews aren’t taking any chances and have focused on learning special martial arts to defend themselves.
France will deploy 5,000 security personnel to protect the 700 Jewish schools and institutions in the country, France’s interior minister stated on Monday. The boosted security comes in the wake of the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks, the latest of which occurred at Hyper Cacher food market, where four Jews were murdered by a terrorist who had stated allegiance to the Islamic State terror organization.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve made the announcement as he addressed parents at a Jewish school south of Paris.
This deployment is part of a broader positioning of 15,000 police and security personnel nationwide, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explained. They will be tasked with securing “sensitive” sites in the country, given the “scale of threats” on France and in the wake of Islamist terror attacks last week that left 17 dead in total.
Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), said on Sunday, following a meeting with President Francois Hollande, that the French army may also participate in the protection of Jewish sites. “He told us that all the schools, all the synagogues will be protected, if necessary, on top of the police, by the army,” Cukierman said.
AFP reports that Hollande will chair a crisis meeting with cabinet ministers Monday to discuss security measures. The shootings have raised doubts regarding the country’s intelligence and security agencies.
Jews Learn to Protect Themselves
In the meantime, Paris’s Jews are taking their security into their own hands, the New York-based Vocativ news site reports.
Many Jews are planning to get martial arts training, which reportedly is being spearheaded by the local Betar youth movement branch.
The leader of Betar’s French “militia,” who goes by the name Yair, told Vocativ by phone last week that Betar teams were preparing to defend Jewish communities.
“I am in my car en route to Vincennes, but everything is on lockdown,” he said. “The French Betar has four cars around Vincennes, one team in front of the Jewish school Georges Leven, one team in front of a Jewish school in the 7th arrondissement [district] and another in front of a Jewish school in Boulogne.”