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French PM: Jews Must Not Live in Fear in France

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at Hyper Cacher attack commemoration service in Paris: Those who target French Jews target all the French • Thought that French Jews feel like they don’t belong should be unbearable, Valls says.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls remembered on Saturday the victims of the Paris kosher supermarket siege, where four people died after being taken hostage by a gunman a year ago.

“How could France leave its Jewish compatriots to live in fear, let them doubt for even just an instant that here is their home, watch more and more of them leave their country because they don’t feel safe anymore but also because they feel misunderstood, because they don’t feel they belong? This should be, for all of us, for the French people, an unbearable thought,” he said while addressing an audience at the commemoration service.

On January 9, 2015, a French Islamic gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, took several people hostage in the Hyper Cacher grocery store after shooting a police officer in the Parisian suburb of Montrouge. Coulibaly was shot dead during a police operation to free the hostages.

Two days earlier, Islamist militants had opened fire during an editorial meeting at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for lampooning Islam with drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, which had been under police protection for years.

Twelve people, including many of the magazine’s top staff, editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known to readers of the magazine as Charb, other contributors and police officers, were killed in the attack, which set off several days of violence that led to 17 deaths.

Crowds of people, including members of the French Jewish community, gathered outside the supermarket where the siege took place before officials arrived to lead Saturday’s ceremony.

During the service, Valls praised the work of France’s soldiers and police officers who were deployed to guard synagogues and Jewish schools following the attacks.

“Honor to the soldiers who shield us every day, protect our synagogues, the Jewish community’s schools and buildings. The flag our policemen, our ‘gendarmes,’ our soldiers bear on their uniform shows that France will never surrender; it will always rise against those who want to target French Jews, and hence, all the French,” he said, before officials and the crowd sang the national anthem, “La Marseillaise.”

Malian grocery worker Lassana Bathily, who was hailed as a hero for saving hostages’ lives and was later made a French citizen, lit a candle on stage as the service was underway.

The attacks opened what proved to be a bloody year in France, with a wave of suicide bombings and shootings on November 13 claiming another 130 lives.

By Israel Hayom Staff

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