France / 10-10-2012
Avignon – On Monday night, anonymous perpetrators desecrated two marble memorial tombstones, which stand at the entrance to the Jewish cemetery at Avignon, adjacent to Avignon’s municipal cemetery.
The first tombstone contains a Star of David, and the second contains the inscription “Jewish Cemetery”. For the leaders of Avignon’s local Jewish community, this can definitely be ascribed to an antisemitic act of vandalism. The police commenced investigations, and samples were extracted from the scene.
Jacques Attali, president of Avignon’s Jewish community (Israelite cult Avignon), says: “We live on. We still feel a sense of insecurity, which becomes real when such acts are committed.”
As the vandals did not enter the cemetery, but rather focused on the two Jewish symbols, Attali sees this as “…an act of provocation. In the present context, especially since the Merah incident, there people who seek revenge.”
While the Jewish community of Avignon lives in relative peace, this is the second time in ten years that the Jewish cemetery falls victim to vandalism. Five years ago, the community center at Avignon was also damaged by a calcic powder grenade. The police commissioner ascribed the matter with great import, and Oliver Dyer, the police commissioner, arrived at the scene yesterday in order to assess the damage. An investigation is due to commence, which will examine the tools used for damaging the tombstones.
Currently, the Jewish community of Avignon, which concluded a period of religious holidays this week, seeks to meet with Marie-Josée Roig, in order to consider the ways by which the cemetery’s safety can be improved.
“We shall also be on guard. This time, the act was committed at the cemetery, and fortunately no member of our community was harmed…”