A gruesome hacksaw attack on two Jewish brothers in a Parisian suburb last week has left French Jews reeling.
The brothers, who were wearing kippot, were driving through Bondy when a car cut in front of them.
When both vehicles stopped at a red light, one of the brothers, aged 17 and 29, lowered his window and asked the men in the other car why they had swerved in front of them.
The brothers said the driver — a 30-year-old man, who was with his father — responded with antisemitic insults including, “You dirty Jews! You pr***s! You’re going to die”, and both men got out of their car.
At that point, the victims said, the younger man seized a hacksaw and started attacking them. His father allegedly tried to dissuade him.
Around five men who saw the attack from a nearby bar then arrived and joined in the attack against the brothers.
Both brothers were left with severe hand injuries; one was also badly hurt in the back. An initial report that the finger of one of the two was entirely swan off was later denied.
France’s Interior minister Bruno Le Roux said he was appalled by the attack. “Every necessary measure will be taken to find and detain those who committed these despicable acts. They will be brought to court,” he said.
A French group combating antisemitism, the BNVCA, said that Bondy’s Jewish community had been repeatedly attacked in recent years: Molotov cocktails had been thrown at the local synagogue and Maccabi football players were assaulted last year.
BNVCA head Sammy Ghozlan said no one had been arrested for those attacks and the city’s Jewish population was moving away. “The Jewish community and local synagogue were very developed here but they’re gradually fading away,” he said.
The deployment of extra police outside Jewish institutions has nevertheless brought the number of antisemitic attacks down.