A crowd of nearly 1,000 is slated to attend the largest “Republican” Jewish event in France Monday night, where President Francois Hollande is to deliver remarks on anti-Semitism and French Jewry.
The country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and top government officials will also attend the 31st annual dinner of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France).
At least 800 people have reserved seats for the dinner, which takes place every year and is considered the event of the season.
Leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) will also attend the event, which they shunned last year. “With the new head of CFCM Anwar Kbibech, we really feel things have changed,” CRIF President Roger Cukierman,79, told the European Jewish Press.
He noted that the gathering is a forum “where we can express our feelings and concerns.” As in the past, the rising level of anti-Semitism in France will be a main topic of discussion.
“Anti-Semitic acts continue, the 2015 figures are virtually at the same level as in 2014,” said Cukierman, who ends his third mandate in May.
This will be the 79-year-old leader’s last dinner as head of the CRIF.
“Once again, Jews, who represent less than 1% of the total population, are targets of40% of racist acts committed in France and 49% of racist violence to people,” the CRIF said in its annual report. Figures show there were 808 incidents in 2015, as compared with 851 incidents in 2014, according to the Security Department of the Jewish Community (SPCJ).
France is home to the world’s third largest Jewish community, with a population between 500,000 to 600,000 Jews.
In 2015, a record 7,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel following vicious anti-Semitic terrorist attacks in the country despite the Paris government’s 100-million euro plan to strengthen protection around 700 synagogues, schools and community centers.Hana Levi Julian