French prime minister praised by European rabbis for taking 'decisive action' against anti-Semitism - World Jewish Congress

French prime minister praised by European rabbis for taking 'decisive action' against anti-Semitism

French prime minister praised by European rabbis for taking 'decisive action' against anti-Semitism

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In Toulouse, Manuel Valls, France's prime minister, was honored on Tuesday by the Conference of European Rabbis with the organization's Lord Jakobovits Award for his “exemplary determination in the fight against anti-Semitism.

Last month, Valls presented a €100 million plan to fight anti-Semitism and racism in France. It includes measures to protect Jewish and Muslim houses of worship and communal institutions and better education in schools.

“We made the decision to award Prime Minister Valls the Lord Jakobovits Prize after the decisive action Prime Minister Valls took to protect the people the Jews of France from the mobs who were about to make a pogrom against our people and our synagogues,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, which is holding its annual convocation in Toulouse.

“There are some voices asking if there is a future for the Jewish people in Europe. I say this question can only be answered by European governments themselves. And, if that answer is to be a positive, then they must follow the example of Prime Minister Valls,” Goldschmidt said.

More than 200 rabbis from across Europe, including chief rabbis from a number of European nations as well as from Israel, attended the convention.

Goldschmidt told JTA that Toulouse was chosen as the venue for the event to demonstrate European Jewry’s “determination to stand firm against the new wave of terrorism designed to intimidate Europe and its Jews.”

In 2012, Mohammed Merah, a Muslim fanatic, murdered three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse. 

“Toulouse is the point in which we saw the emergence of a new wave of terrorism, different from the terrorist attacks by Palestinians that we have seen in the past,” Goldschmidt said. The 2014 slaying of four at Brussels’ Jewish museum, the murder of four Jews near Paris in January and the gunning down of a Jewish guard in Copenhagen in February, Goldschmidt said, “are the latest casualties of the wave that we saw emerging in Toulouse.”