A reporter for the Israeli news website NRG documented an entire day walking through Paris wearing the religious symbols of a tzitzit and a kippa (yarmulke) and the negative, threatening reactions of some Parisians.
The reporter, Zvika Klein, did nothing but walk silently through the streets of Paris as a colleague filmed him. The reaction ranged from profanity to people spitting on him as he walked past.
Comments included hateful slurs as simple as “Jew” to “Go f*** from the front and the back,” “Viva Palestine,” and “Hey you, with the kippa, what are you doing here?” Klein later reported in his article for NRG about the 10 hours he spent walking in Paris without speaking while taking abusive reactions for being a Jew. His conclusion: that this is simply how Paris is now.
“Welcome to Paris 2015, where soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner,” Klein wrote for NRG, which also posted a few minutes of video of his long day in the City of Light.
“Walking down one Parisian suburb, I was asked what I doing there. In modern-day Paris, you see, Jews are barred from entering certain areas.”
Klein was followed by a videographer who filmed him with a hidden backpack camera and was trailed by a bodyguard for extra protection. Since the January 9 attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris that followed the Charlie Hebdo office attack, Paris has been a particularly tense place for Jews.
Europe in general has been so intense and dangerous for Jews recently that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, reiterated in a recent speech that “Israel is the home of every Jew.” The Middle Eastern country expects a record number of European Jews to emigrate there in 2015.
Parts of Paris that are frequented by tourists were relatively calmer for Klein as he passed through them, but farther afield he began to run into trouble. In addition to people glaring at him with what he described as “hateful stares,” Klein also wrote that he was targeted as a Jew with hostile body language and belligerent remarks. At one point, a man followed just a few feet behind him, intentionally trailing him and saying nothing but “Jew, Jew” over and over.
“I would be lying if I said I was not afraid,” he wrote of the heart-pounding experience after the day was over.
Klein also intentionally walked through neighborhoods that are predominantly Muslim, where even a small child was shocked to see a Jew and remarked to his mother that the man would be killed by someone. In a different neighborhood, someone driving a car pulled up and said there had been “reports” that a Jew was walking through the streets of Paris.
[Image via Times of Israel]