Vandals desecrate 90 Jewish graves in Eastern France ahead of marches

Marches against anti Semitism to take place across France

No official number has been reported, but similar demonstrations were reported in 60 cities including Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes.

"I don't exactly know why they are angry at the Jews", said another, named Alain, who refused to give his last name. "I firmly condemn the anti-Semitism in France and call on the Jews - come home; immigrate to Israel".

Artwork on two Paris post boxes showing the image of Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and former magistrate, was defaced with swastikas, while a bagel shop was sprayed with the word "Juden", German for Jews, in yellow letters.

Image copyright AFP Image caption France has witnessed a spate of recent anti-Semitic attacks, prompting criticism at home and overseas.

The problem was starkly underlined on Tuesday with the discovery of more than 90 graves in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France desecrated with swastikas and other abuse.

"Every time a French person, because he or she is Jewish, is insulted, threatened - or worse, injured or killed - the whole Republic" is attacked, Macron said at a press conference in Paris after meeting with Georgia's President Salome Zurabishvili.

In a video statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the "shocking" attack, calling anti-Semitism "a plague that endangers everyone, not just us".

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France is home to the largest Jewish community in Europe, around 550,000 people, a population that has grown by about half since World War Two.

Figures released last week showed there were more than 500 anti-Semitic attacks in France in 2018, a 74 per cent increase from 2017. "We must be totally determined, I would say nearly enraged, in our will to fight, with a clear awareness that this fight is an old one and will last a long time".

Is this happening in other countries?

The chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, which deals with Jewish immigration to Israel, called the vandalism "another indication of the rampant anti-Semitism spreading throughout Europe, threatening Jews in the streets".

A man holds a poster reading "Racists, Don't Touch to Our Jewish Friends" during a gathering decrying anti-Semitism at Place de la Republique in Paris, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 amid an upsurge in anti-Semitism in France.

Political parties from across the spectrum will unite in Paris but Marine Le Pen's far-right party will hold a separate event.

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