Some 80 Jewish graves have been desecrated and daubed with swastikas on Monday evening in the village of Quatzenheim near Strasbourg in eastern France.
This comes as thousands across Paris and dozens of other French cities prepare to march against antisemitism, following a series of racist acts that shocked the nation.
Interior minister Christophe Castaner tweeted his “outrage and disgust”, while French president Emmanuel Macron headed to the Jewish cemetery vandalised overnight.
“Every time a French person, because he or she is Jewish, is insulted, threatened – or worse, injured or killed – the whole Republic is attacked”, Macron told reporters at a press conference in Paris.
Former French presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are set to join thousands of protesters and government officials on the Paris streets.
Macron is not expected to attend the gathering at the Republic Square, but will deliver a speech at Wednesday’s annual dinner by leading Jewish group CRIF.
In addition to the marches, National Assembly president Richard Ferrand and the head of Senate Gerard Larcher will hold a moment of silence at the Shoah memorial in Paris.
This comes days after the French government reported a 74 percent rise in antisemitism last year, with 541 registered incidents last year, up from 311 in 2017.
France, which is home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside Israel and the US, saw an upsurge in antisemitism last weekend when a torrent of hate speech was directed at prominent philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a march of yellow vest anti-government protesters.
In other recent incidents, swastika graffiti was found on street portraits of Simone Veil – a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017.
The word “Juden” was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris, and two trees planted at a memorial honouring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalised, one cut down.
Two youths were arrested on Friday after they allegedly fired shots at a synagogue with an air rifle in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a large Jewish community lives.
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