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New leader of France's Jews warns community is experiencing most difficult situation since the war

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Francis Kalifat, the new leader of France’s Jewish community, has said that rising antisemitism means the country’s Jews are facing their “most difficult situation” for over 70 years.

Mr Kalifat pledged that his priority as the newly elected president of Crif, the community's main representative group, was to combat increasing Jew-hatred.

Speaking yesterday after his unanimous election, the 64-year-old described the fight against antisemitism as “our main cause”.

He added: “French Jews are in the most difficult situation they have experience since World War II.

“I think all of our force needs to be united to fight against this antisemitism in all its forms, because we see this new antisemitism advancing under the guise of anti-Zionism.”

The Algeria-born businessman is the first Sephardi Jew to become Crif’s president in its 72-year history.

He will take up the position at a time of record emigration by Jews from France, caused in by in part by antisemitic incidents including the attack on the Hyper Cache kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015 in which four people were killed by Islamist terrorists.

At around 480,000 the French Jewish community is the largest in Europe.

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