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French Teens Burn Prayer Books at Jewish Cemetery

French police reportedly have arrested two teenagers on suspicion that they burned prayer books at a Jewish cemetery near Lyon in eastern France.

The two are suspected of setting fire to the office of the cemetery at Champagne-au-Mont-d’Or on Sunday night, according to Le Progrés, a local newspaper. They are said to have set a tablecloth on fire and then used it to burn dozens of prayer books stored at the office.

Police told the newspaper the motive for the arson was presumed to be “pure vandalism” and not anti-Semitism.

In a separate incident, the mayor of Caluire et Cuire, a suburb of Lyon, reportedly has filed a complaint with police over a large anti-Semitic graffiti that unidentified individuals spray-painted along eight meters of a wall near a main road.

It read: “Longs live Bin Laden, all the Jews to the ovens” and included swastikas, according to SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities. SPCJ posted a picture of the graffiti online. Referencing French President Francois Hollande, the graffiti also read: “Hollande the dirty Jew, you mother.”

The French news agency AFP reported that in a third incident in Paris, unknown parties spray-painted the words “Hessel is an anti-Semite” on the home of the 95-year-old pro-Palestinian activist and Socialist activist Stephane Hessel.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily, last year quoted Hessel – a Jewish Holocaust survivor and author of a popular booklet “Indignez-vous!” – as saying that the Nazi occupation of France was “relatively harmless” compared to the “Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

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