In immigrant section of Paris, few Jews remain among Muslim majority

Rabbi Mevorah Zerbib stands near the ark of the Kedouchat Levy Synagogue in northern Paris, January 12, 2015. (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

Arabic is still spoken in the local kosher restaurant in the 18th arrondissement, where a Jewish presence is quickly becoming a thing of the past

PARIS — A large poster of newly elected Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi greets diners at the entrance to the Kosher Tunisian restaurant Chez Guichi in Paris’s immigrant-dominated 18th arrondissement. “Long live Tunisia,” the poster reads in Arabic.

As he roasted beef kebabs on the open grill, the owner, Guichi, wearing a large, black kippa, was chatting in dialect with the lunch customers, Jews and Arabs, with Arabic covers of Beyonce playing in the background.

Next to the sink, where Jews traditionally wash their hands before breaking bread, a poster marked the eighth anniversary last January of the kidnapping and murder of Ilan Halimi, a Jewish Parisian of Moroccan decent, by a Muslim gang.

The bundle of contradictions that is Chez Guichi represents a world that was once, and is no more. Waves of Jewish immigrants — first Eastern Europeans at the turn of the 20th century and then North Africans in the 1960s and 1970s — have all but abandoned the working-class neighborhood, which now mostly houses Muslim immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb.

Jews and Arabs alike are reluctant to speak of the rising tension between the two communities, though all admit its pervasiveness. At el-Walid Halal butcher, the man behind the counter refuses to speak to the press without his boss’s permission. “I went to the demonstration yesterday,” he says. “We want to remain neutral”…

  • simus1

    Foolish, foolish, people.

  • Xavier

    History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
    And I’ve heard this song before.

  • Ho Hum

    Slightly off topic but still on the theme of how it is not safe to be around certain groups of people I just came across this video uploaded at LiveLeak

    “Attempted murder at McDonalds”

    The video was taken on January 9th and it captures a brutal attack on a man outside of a McDonalds in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan. A group of up to 10 violent thugs beat up a man in the parking lot and drive over the victim with their car when they fled.

    According the the comments of the up-loader the attackers have brown skin. Could they be Muslim?

    What I find interesting is the lack of attention by the local media. There was only one blurb on 640AM

    This shocking and brutal unprovoked attack is merely described as an “assault situation” . No doubt this was the description provided by police. Notice also police “have no description of the attackers”. Of course this is a complete outright lie because we know they have a high quality video of the brown skinned attackers.

    There is no mention on the York Regional Police website about this incident. Have they made arrests? If not why haven’t they released video of the attack to the public and ask for assistance? Are police deliberately hushing up this crime? You can bet if the attackers had been white with blond hair this story would be all over the news!

    It makes me wonder how many violent unprovoked attacks on defenseless citizens by brown (and black) skinned assailants are occurring in this city and are being hushed-up by police? I bet lots!