France will firmly combat anti-Semitism, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday, pointing to a surge in incidents of hatred against Jews since the attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7 and subsequent fighting in the Gaza Strip.
There have been 1,159 antisemitic acts in France since Oct. 7, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said earlier on Wednesday, more than three times the number of such acts in 2022.
Those acts include spray-painting swastikas or stars of David on walls, but also insults and assault, Darmanin said, amid a global surge in antisemitic acts.
"Anti-Semitism is resurfacing, in words, on the walls," Macron said in a speech. "The Republic does not and will not compromise, and we will be ruthless against those who carry that hatred."
France is home to Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim communities and conflicts in the Middle East tend to lead to tensions there.
French prosecutors opened a probe last week over a video showing a group of youths' anti-Semitic chants.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether two Moldovans who admitted to daubing Stars of David on the walls of Parisian properties did so at the behest of someone abroad.
Europe 1 radio said last week that an individual in Russia had directed the operation. Le Monde spoke of pro-Russian bots spreading pictures on social media. Police and the interior ministry said they could not comment on this.
In France, as elsewhere in Europe, the Israel-Hamas war is splitting left-wing parties and beyond.
A march against anti-Semitism planned for Sunday by the heads of both houses of parliament has left parties divided on whether to attend, after the far-right National Rally said it would take part.
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, Blandine Henault, and Jean-Stephane Brosse; additional reporting by Layli Foroudi; writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Alex Richardson)