“New strategy is needed to combat anti-Semitism"


Western Europe


Photo AFP, Alain Jocard

Yonathan Arfi, the recently elected president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), which fights anti-Semitism, wants to involve the whole of society in his fight against hatred towards Jews.

The 42-year-old and youngest President of CRIF said so in an interview with the German weekly Jüdische Allgemeine. "Traditionally, our association seeks dialogue with the government to protect itself from anti-Semites. I want to change that", Arfi said. "Of course, we will continue to work closely with the French government, but our strategy must become more horizontal. The well-being of the Jewish community is a matter of great concern to many citizens - here too we must mobilize our allies."

Following the example of the European Union, Arfi wants to develop Franco-German friendship to support Jewish life in Europe together with the Central Council of Jews in Germany. "There is a big difference because the Muslim population in Germany is made up very differently than in France: in Germany, most Muslims are of Turkish origin, while in France they mainly have roots in North Africa, where one has a completely different relationship with Jews."

According to Arfi, anti-Semitism comes from all corners: "from Islamists, from right-wing extremists and – in the form of anti-Zionism – from left-wing extremists." However, Arfi also says that recent anti-Semitism has been more violent in France than in other countries. "In the past 20 years, twelve Jews have been murdered out of Islamist hate."


Arfi was elected President on Sunday, June 26th. He was leading a group of companies active in business consulting and real estate. This reports the Times of Israël. Raised in a Sephardic family from Algeria and Morocco, he spent his adolescence in the Yvelines, near Versailles.

With around 500,000 people, France has the largest population of Jews in Europe. CRIF brings together some 70 associations to "fight against anti-Semitism", to "preserve and transmit the memory of the Holocaust" and "to affirm the solidarity" of the Jewish community "with Israel".



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