French Jewish woman stabbed, swastika found on her door

By Gabe Friedman
November 5, 2023

(JTA) — French police are searching for a man who stabbed a young Jewish woman in her home in Lyon on Saturday.

A swastika was found scrawled on her door, and police said they are investigating whether the symbol was connected to the assault. The woman, who was stabbed twice in her stomach after opening her door to the attacker, is recovering in a hospital and is not in life-threatening condition.

“This act could have antisemitism as its motive,” said the Lyon prosecutor’s office, according to Agence France-Press.

Lyon Mayor Grégory Doucet called the attack “unspeakable.”

“All my support to the victim, to her loved ones,” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Since Hamas’ attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s subsequent response in Gaza, antisemitic incidents have spiked across Western Europe. France has seen more antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7 than in the entire past year — more than 850, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said last week, after dozens of Stars of David were found graffitied in Paris and a few of its suburbs.

The local branch of the CRIF, the representative council for French Jewish institutions, said the stabbing has “prompted great concern in the Jewish community.”

Some outlets reported that the woman was known to be Jewish in her building and local community, and that she had a mezuzah affixed to her door.

In July, a 13-year-old boy wearing visibly Jewish garb was pushed against a wall and threatened in Lyon, a city of over half a million people in southeastern France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has lent his support to Israel in its war with Hamas but has also repeatedly pushed for a “humanitarian truce” and condemned Israel’s attacks that have led to the deaths of thousands of civilians in Gaza.

“The civilian population of Gaza does not have to pay for Hamas’ crimes,” the French foreign ministry wrote in a statement on Friday. “We must avoid at all costs the trap set by Hamas and extremists of all stripes who want to breed hatred for future generations.”

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