PARIS – The four-year prison sentence given to the man who torched a kosher supermarket in suburban Paris “sent an important message,” the chief rabbi of France said.
The Correctional Tribunal of Pontoise near Paris on Oct. 26 sentenced a 27-year-old ambulance driver for setting fire to the Naouri kosher supermarket in Sarcelles, a heavily Jewish suburb of the French capital, on July 20.
Identified in the French media as Abbas C., the driver was given a longer term than the 26 months sought by the prosecutor.
“This sentence reflects the determination of the judiciary to fight anti-Semitic crimes,” Rabbi Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, told JTA on Tuesday.
Korsia added that the French government under President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls also was “vigilant and firm” in dealing with anti-Semitism.
Besides arson, Abbas C. was convicted of assaulting police officers, whom he pelted with stones, and the aggravated theft of a television set from a shop whose display window was smashed by rioters on the day of the fire.
The riots had broken out in Sarcelles and elsewhere in Paris that month against Israel’s actions in Gaza during this summer’s 50-day operation against Hamas in the coastal strip. In some of the disturbances, Jewish individuals and Jewish-owned businesses were targeted, along with nine synagogues throughout France.
Demonstrators in several of the riots turned against police officers, whom they targeted with stones, metal bars and other projectiles. Several of the culprits have been sentenced to jail time.
The demonstrations took place despite a temporary ban on political protests about Israel.