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French Kosher Grocery Arsonist Gets 4 Years in Prison

The Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Korsia, praised the sentencing of a man who torched a kosher supermarket to four years in jail and said it “sent an important message.”

The Correctional Tribunal of Pontoise near Paris on Oct. 26 sentenced a 27-year-old ambulance driver identified in French media as Abbas C., who on July 20 participated in the setting on fire of the Naouri kosher supermarket in Sarcelles, a heavily-Jewish suburb of the French capital.

“This sentence reflects the determination of the judiciary to fight anti-Semitic crimes,” Korsia told JTA Tuesday. He added that the French government under President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls was also “vigilant and firm” in dealing with anti-Semitism.

The prosecutor in Abbas C.’s trial sought a 26-month jail term for the man, but the judge extended the punishment.

Besides arson, he was also convicted of assaulting police officers, whom he pelted with stones, and the aggravated theft of a television set from a shop whose display window was smashed by rioters on July 20.

The riots had broken out in Sarcelles and elsewhere in the French capital that month against Israel’s actions in Gaza during this summer’s 50-day operation against Hamas in the coastal strip. In some of the disturbances, Jewish individuals and Jewish-owned businesses were targeted, along with nine synagogues throughout France.

Occurring despite a temporary ban on political protests about Israel, in several of the riots demonstrators turned against police officers, whom they targeted with stones, metal bars and other projectiles. Several of the culprits have been sentenced to jail time.

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