ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Two targeted in suspected antisemitic assaults in France, US

13-year-old boy wearing outwardly religious clothing is pushed against wall and threatened in Lyon; attacker pulls tzitzit, makes anti-Jewish remarks to Chabad man in San Diego

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

A police car drives down the street in Lyon, eastern France, on July 16, 2023. (OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)
A police car drives down the street in Lyon, eastern France, on July 16, 2023. (OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

Two Jewish people were assaulted in separate alleged antisemitic incidents in the United States and France this week.

A 13-year-old boy wearing identifiable religious attire was pushed against a wall on the street by three assailants in Lyon on Monday evening, according to a local media report.

The attackers threatened the victim with death if he reported the incident to police, the report said.

The victim was not injured in the attack and filed a police complaint. The authorities have opened an investigation into “aggravated violence due to religious affiliation.”

In San Diego, a 65-year-old member of the community at the Chabad House at San Diego State University was assaulted outside a 7-Eleven store near the campus, according to the organization.

In a statement, Chabad SDSU director Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah said the assailant pulled off the victim’s tzitzit — the Jewish ritual fringes — and made antisemitic and anti-Israel comments toward him.

Illustrative: The Grande Synagogue de Lyon. (photo credit: CC-BY-SA, Alexmar983, Wikimedia)

Police said the man was not injured, and that they were probing the attack.

In March, a large menorah at the front of the Chabad House was vandalized, with its base and one of its arms broken off, causing it to fall over.

“These acts of hatred only make our commitment to rebuild our menorah even stronger, in a much sturdier and more beautiful way,” Boudjnah said in his statement, adding it will be completed later this month.

“We will not be deterred or scared. We firmly believe that light fights darkness, and we stand committed to shine brighter in response to these acts,” he added, and urged anyone with information to come forward.

A menorah at the Chabad House in San Diego State University on the ground after it was vandalized in March 2023. (YouTube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The menorah was also damaged in 2017 when college students performed pull-ups on it. However, the incident was not believed to be linked to antisemitism.

The Antisemitism Worldwide Report for 2022, published in April, documented a sharp rise in 2022 in the number of antisemitic incidents in the United States and other Western countries, alongside a decline in several other countries, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. It also found that Haredi Jews are the main victims of antisemitic assaults in the West.

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