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The nine bishops of the greater Paris region condemned anti-Semitic violence that occurred during pro-Palestinian protests last weekend against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the bishops of seven surrounding dioceses and the French military bishop said in a statement this week that they were shocked by the attacks on synagogues and a kosher food shop and anti-Semitic slogans chanted by demonstrators.
“These cannot in any way be justified by the international situation,” they said, calling on the Government to maintain public order. “We urge Catholics, and all our compatriots, to show mutual respect and be open to dialogue and encounter.”
France has the largest Muslim and Jewish minorities in Europe and Israeli-Palestinian tensions sometimes spill over in neighbourhoods where they live side-by-side.
Rising anti-Semitism and poor economic prospects have prompted record numbers of French Jews to leave for Israel this year. Israeli officials expect about 5,000 to move in 2014, compared to 3,289 in 2013 and 1,917 in 2012.