France and Sweden: attacks against Jews multiply

This morning, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on X that police killed an armed man who was trying to set fire to a synagogue in Rouen. The man, armed with a knife and an iron bar, approached the officers, who shot him, killing him, as reported by an official source. The Rouen prosecutor, Frédéric Teillet, announced that there are two investigations underway: one concerning the arson of a place of worship and intentional aggression against public officials, and another concerning the circumstances of the individual's death . The first investigation is entrusted to the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN), while the second is in the hands of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN). Rouen mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol told the AP: “The suspect is believed to have used a rubbish container to throw a Molotov cocktail” inside the synagogue, causing a fire and significant damage to the structure. The national police announced that the officers, who arrived on the scene following the report of smoke coming from the synagogue, found themselves face to face with the man who immediately attacked them with a knife that had a 25 centimeter blade.

According to the first information gathered by Le Figaro, he is a 29-year-old Algerian. Gérald Darmanin, who went to greet the community representatives and realize the extent of the damage, specified that the man had applied for a residence permit as a “sick migrant” in 2022 but this had been refused at the prefecture after consultation with a doctor. Meanwhile, he was ordered to leave the territory and his appeal was rejected at the end of January by the administrative court. Although the French government wants to speed up expulsions, with 1,666 criminal foreigners forcibly repatriated since January, its goodwill clashes with the low rate of actual deportations which, according to data, is less than 20%, with 20,000 expulsions out of 110,000 measures adopted in 2023. This new attack comes as France is hit hard by a wave of anti-Semitism that has continued to grow since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on 7 October 2023. During the 38th dinner of the Representative Council of Jewish institutions of France, in Paris on May 6, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said: «No one can deny this wave of anti-Semitism. No one can deny the fact that French Jews are estimated to represent 1% of the French population, but that over 60% of anti-religious acts are anti-Semitic acts.” Almost simultaneously in Stockholm, gunshots were heard near the Israeli embassy.

The area was cordoned off and Swedish police arrested several people, including a 14-year-old. Local media reported that a police patrol heard the shots and suspected it was a shootout. The affected area is located between the Djurgarden Bridge, Nobel Park and Oscar Church. As the Times of Israel recalled, over 100 anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported in Sweden between October 7 and the end of 2023, almost five times the number in the same period the previous year, according to a report published last April . According to the report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRA), the police registered a total of 110 complaints between October 7 – when Hamas launched an attack in southern Israel – and December 31. In 2022, the figure was 24. There was a time when Sweden was seen by American liberals as an inspiring model of the Scandinavian welfare state. Although Europeans were less impressed, their closest neighbors tended, reluctantly, to accept Sweden as an example to follow. Having survived the Second World War, Sweden had transformed itself into an export-oriented economy, based on a stable parliamentary democracy and social consensus. The country boasted a first-class health and education system, promoted social and gender equality, had low crime rates and little ethnic conflict. While there are still reasons for optimism about some of these indicators, especially in the industrial sector, most of them have been transformed irreversibly. Today, Sweden has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of murders committed by criminal gangs in Europe. It boasts the lowest average age of serious criminals, with children as young as teenagers arrested for murder. More and more suburban neighborhoods are officially classified as particularly vulnerable areas where it is difficult, if not impossible for the police to operate. In other words, these are off-limits zones, governed by local clans and where first responders do not enter without bulletproof vests and a police escort. The crisis has roots mainly in an open-door migration policy, without adequate support to encourage the integration of new arrivals. This has led to the formation of neighborhoods where the vast majority of residents are Muslim immigrants, with high unemployment rates and where the children of immigrants attend schools where few, if any, speak Swedish fluently, not even the teachers. These neighborhoods have become real incubators for crime, as gangs take control where society fails to intervene effectively and where anti-Semitism has taken root.