Issues

Rabbi Sacks: When Anti-Semitism Begins to Hit a Continent, Then That’s a Bad Sign for Everyone.

The Grand Synagogue in France did not hold Sabbath on Saturday for the first time since World War II, but held services Sunday evening after the unity march. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande were in attendance at the service among hundreds of Jews and French supporters.

Rabbi Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, called the coming together of the French people a positive mark against radical Islam. After the terrorist attacks on the Kosher market and at Charlie Hebdo, the French public began carrying signs reading "Je Suis Juif" and "Je Suis Charlie." He called for France to step up and get tougher on anything that looked like anti-Semitism.

"When anti-Semitism begins to hit a continent then that's a bad sign for everyone. Because the hate that begins with Jews doesn't end with Jews," Rabbi Sacks said.

Great Britain has remained tolerant of the Jewish community and has seen an increase of French Jews moving to the country to seek a more tolerant society. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also told French Jews that Israel is their refuge.

"Europe should not be importing a message of tension and hostility from the Middle East. It should be exporting a message of coexistence from Europe to the Middle East," Rabbi Sacks said.

Another sign of humanity and tolerance during this trying time in France was the Muslim employee at the Kosher market took and hid customers in the storage basement during the siege.