Three members of a prominent French Jewish family were kidnapped, tied up, brutally beaten and robbed on Thursday night in their home in the suburb of Livry-Gargan northeast of Paris, French authorities said Sunday.
According to the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), three individuals broke into the house Roger Pinto, the president of the Siona group representing Sephardic Jews, by cutting through the home’s window bars. They then cut off the electricity in the house, tied up Pinto’s son, and held and beat his wife. It was only on Friday morning, several hours later, that Pinto managed to discretely contact police, causing the intruders to flee.
According to the BNVCA report, the unidentified attackers told their victims, “You are Jewish, you have money.”
The assailants, black men in their 20s or 30s, according to the victims’ description, took jewelry, cash and credit cards.
The Pintos were taken to hospital for treatment. They suffered some minor injuries but were deeply traumatized, the report said.
The BNVCA called the attack “manifestly anti-Semitic” and “premeditated,” and said the family was “threatened with death” and “violently beaten.”
In a statement on Sunday, CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jewish organizations, said it “powerfully condemns the very violent and anti-Semitic aggression.”
“After the atrocious murder of Sarah Halimi in her home, this new attack must bring the authorities in our country to a heightened vigilance and deterrence-inducing steps,” he added.“This odious act is proof, if we needed any, that the Jews of France are especially threatened in the street, and even more disturbingly, within their very homes,” CRIF President Francis Kalifat said.
The Jewish groups were joined by France’s interior minister Gérard Collomb, who said the initial findings suggested “the motivation for this cowardly act seems directly related to the religion of the victims.”Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jew, was killed by her Muslim neighbor in April in Paris. Prosecutors dropped the anti-Semitic accusation from his indictment, drawing fierce condemnation from the Jewish community.
“Everything will be done to identify” and arrest the perpetrators, he added in a statement.
The Union of Jewish Students of France also condemned Thursday’s attack, lamenting “the insecurity of French Jews.”
Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, offered her own “support to the Jewish family in Livry-Gargan” and “strongly condemn[ed] this anti-Semitic attack” in a tweet Sunday.
The incident is one of several cases in France in recent years in which criminals singled out Jews out of the apparent belief that they have money.
In 2014, three men broke into the home of a Jewish family in Creteil near Paris. One of them raped a young woman there while another guarded her boyfriend, whom they took prisoner, and a third went with the couple’s credit card to extract cash from an ATM machine. They too allegedly said they targeted the couple because the victims are Jewish.
Occurring amid a major increase in anti-Semitic violence in France accompanying Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza that year, the Creteil incident echoed for many the traumatic murder and torture in 2006 of Ilan Halimi, a Jewish phone salesman who was abducted by a gang led by a career criminal with a history of targeting mostly Jewish victims.
Some French Jews regard the 2006 Halimi murder as the turning point in the emergence of a wave of violence against Jews in France and Belgium, in which more than 12 people have died since 2012 in at least three jihadist attacks on Jewish targets.