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French city’s rabbi says half of his congregants have left over anti-Semitism

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Grenoble, France (Pixabay photo)

Half of the regular members of the Jewish community in of the city of Grenoble in eastern France have left due to anti-Semitism, their rabbi said.

Rabbi Nissim Sultan of Grenoble, a city of 160,000 residents near Lyon with several hundred Jews, said this startling statement during an interview Tuesday with the France Bleu Isère radio station.

“It’s a troubling phenomenon that began about 15 years ago,” he said. “The people who make up the core of our community have left,” he said. “Young families with children and pensioners,” have left to Israel, elsewhere in France, the United States and Canada, he lamented.

Each anti-Semitic graffiti, he said, “raises awareness to a global reality that means we fear for our children at school, on the street. So as responsible parents, we take measures.”

Approximately 20,000 French Jews have left for Israel since 2014, a major increase over the previous four years. Thousands more have immigrated elsewhere and many thousands have moved inside France to safer neighbourhoods amid a substantial increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Last month, authorities shut down Grenoble’s Al-Kawthar Mosque due to the preaching of hate and incitement, including against Jews, by imams there, the Le Dauphine news site reported.