A 30-year-old Jewish woman was stabbed twice in her home in Lyon, France on Saturday, and police found a swastika drawn on her door.
The woman’s condition is “very serious but not life-threatening,” the Daily Mail reported, citing French media. The suspect was still at large.
“A Jewish woman was stabbed this Saturday. An antisemitic inscription was found on the door of her home,” Grégory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon, wrote on social media, in French. “Such a surge of violence is unspeakable. All my support to the victim, to her loved ones.”
The male attacker was masked and clad in black, according to the victim’s statement, and police are reviewing surveillance footage, Le Figaro reported.
“Her home was identified as a Jewish household because there was a mezuzah—a piece of parchment containing Jewish scripture—on the doorframe,” the Daily Mail reported, citing an “investigating source.”
“Early inquiries suggest an antisemitic murder attempt, especially since a Nazi swastika was spray-painted by the attacker on the front door before he left,” the source added.
“Initial findings have led the Lyon public prosecutor’s office to open an investigation into the attempted murder charge, aggravated by the fact that the act could have been motivated by an antisemitic motive,” the public prosecutor’s office stated on Saturday evening, the European Jewish Press reported.
There have been 857 antisemitic incidents in France since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7, Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said last week. (An Anti-Defamation League report, released on Oct. 24, cited Darmanin saying there had been 588 at the time.)
Darmanin told French Jews not to be afraid, the Jewish Chronicle in London reported last month. “If anyone touched a hair of a Jewish person, the state will act in the strongest manner,” he said. “You pray for France’s security on every Saturday. It’s only natural that the state protects you in turn.”
French President Emmanuel Macron had not commented on the attack on social media at press time. He has previously expressed support for Israel. Macron said on Friday that Paris will host a “humanitarian conference” on Nov. 9. “We are calling for a truce because the fight against terrorism does not justify sacrificing civilians,” he said, of Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas terrorists.
Hamas is known to use human shields, as the White House and U.S. State Department have noted repeatedly in recent weeks.
‘Protect their Jewish community’
Earlier on Friday, France’s foreign ministry demanded an explanation from Israel after the French Institute in Gaza had been struck. “We have asked the Israeli authorities to communicate to us without delay by appropriate means the tangible elements which motivated this decision,” it stated in French. “No agent of the institute, nor any French national, was on the premises of the institute.”
Catherine Colonna, the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, said on Friday that France reacted with “astonishment” and “incomprehension” to the attack.
The French government expressed “deep concern” about “several thousand” civilian deaths in Gaza, and it condemned attacks on United Nations sites, humanitarian workers and media headquarters, it stated on Friday in French.
“The protection of civilians is both a moral imperative and an international obligation. We call for concrete steps to be taken by Israel in this regard,” it added, calling for a “humanitarian truce” to “allow the protection of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid in a sufficient and sustainable way and to allow the care of the wounded.”
“The civilian population of Gaza did not have to pay for the crimes of Hamas,” the French government stated. “We must avoid at all costs the trap set by Hamas and extremists of all stripes who want to generate hatred for the next generations.”
It also called for the hostages to be released, and noted that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Many analysts, and at times the White House and the U.S. State Department, have said that a “ceasefire” or “pause” benefits Hamas and allows it to rebuild its capacity to attack Israel again.
“Deeply disturbing,” wrote the European Jewish Congress, of the attack on Saturday in Lyon. “Jews have the right to exist without being attacked. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope the police can bring this cowardly individual to justice.”
“French authorities must do everything in their power to protect their Jewish community,” wrote the Anti-Defamation League.
In August, three people assaulted a 13-year-old boy Jewish boy, who was wearing identifiable Jewish garb, in Lyon and told him that they would kill him if he told anybody what had happened.
“Antisemitic violence is particularly very much present in France,” Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch, told JNS at the time.
“The number of violent antisemitic attacks has increased by 8%,” she added. “The case of this young man was covered because local media from Lyon decided to make a story out of it, but unfortunately, this kind of antisemitic assault is not an exception.”