On Friday night, a Jewish family in the Parisian suburb of Creteil woke up after their dog wouldn’t stop barking. When they checked on the animal to see what was wrong, they discovered the reason for the dog’s distress: Someone had set the front door of the family’s apartment on fire, and smoke was quickly seeping in.
According to the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), the perpetrator had soaked the door in flammable liquid before setting it on fire, in what the group called an anti-Semitic attack. The French police detained a neighbor, an Arab man who has frequently expressed extreme anti-Semitic views online, as a possible suspect in the attack. The same family was targeted last week when an unidentified person set its car on fire.
“The incident confirms BNVCA’s observation that anti-Semitic acts that began as targeting property belonging to Jews (synagogues, schools, community centers) or as assaults on people on the street have evolved into attacks on Jews inside their own homes,” the organization said in a statement.
Three years ago, Creteil was rocked when three armed assailants broke in to a young Jewish couple’s home, telling its residents that they were being robbed because of their religion. “You Jews, you have money,” the assailants told the couple, before robbing them and brutally raping the woman.
A similar attack occurred earlier this fall in another suburb of Paris, Livry-Gargan, when three attackers forced their way into a Jewish family’s home, telling them they were about to be robbed because they were Jewish and therefore had money. The attackers then kicked 78-year-old Roger Pinto in the head and the neck, as well as his wife and his son before taking off with jewelry, cash, and credit cards.
According to CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jews, more than 40,000 French Jews have left the country in the past 11 years.