European Jewish Congress
French former school principal advised Jewish students not to attend his school
French former school principal advised Jewish students not to attend his school

A former principal at a preparatory school for teenagers in Marseille said that he regularly advised Jews not to attend his institution for fear of harassment by other students.

The revelation came in a newly-published book co-authored by the retired principal, Bernard Ravet, and Emmanuel Davindenkoff, a journalist at Le Monde.

In an interview for the L’Express newspaper, Ravet recalled one case in which he was the principal of a public school and asked a counterpart from a private Jewish school in Marseille to accept an Israeli boy whose mother wanted to enrol him at Ravet’s school.

Ravet said he “knew the boy would get beaten to a pulp” as soon as the other students realised he was an Israeli Jew. “Hiding my embarrassment, I asked the mother whether she had considered enrolling her boy at Yavneh,” a Jewish school in Marseille, said Ravet, who used to head the Versailles prep school in the same city. After the mother said Yavneh was full, Ravet intervened to have the boy accepted there anyway, he told L’Express.

Ravet first realized his school was not unsuitable for Jews when a radio journalist, Edouard Zambeaux, asked some of his students during interviews whether there were any Jews studying in their institution. “If there are, then they have to hide it,” one student said, sending “a chill down my back,” Ravet recalled.

Whereas 30 years ago the majority of French Jews enrolled their children in public schools, now only a third of them do so. The remaining two-thirds are divided equally between Jewish schools and private schools that are not Jewish, including Catholic and Protestant institutions, according to Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, the country’s EJC affiliate.

“In the Paris region, there are virtually no more Jewish pupils attending public schools,” Kalifat told JTA last year, attributing their absence to “a bad atmosphere of harassment, insults and assaults” against Jews because of their ethnicity, and to the simultaneous growth of the Jewish education system.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

Monday, September 11, 2017
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