A preparatory school was not a safe place for Jewish children, purportedly because they would face harassment by other students, according to a former principal.
Bernard Ravet, the former principal at a Versailles preparatory school for teenagers in Marseille, France, said he regularly advised Jewish students against enrolling there. Ravet made the stunning admission in a new book he co-wrote with Emmanuel Davindenkoff, a Le Monde journalist.
France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe — 4.7 million, according to Pew Research.
According to the Israel National News (INN), Ravet said he initially realized his school was “not suitable for Jews” when some of his students were asked if there were any Jewish students at the institution.
“If there are, then they have to hide it,” one student reportedly said, answering the questions posed by radio journalist Edouard Zambeauxsending.
Ravet said the answer sent a chill down his back.
In an interview for the L’Express newspaper, Ravet talked about a specific incident in which he was asked by the principal of a private Jewish school to accept an Israeli boy. According to Ravet, he “knew the boy would get beat to pulp” when the other students realized he was an Israeli Jew. He advised the boy’s mother to seek an alternative institution.
“Hiding my embarrassment, I asked the mother whether she had considered enrolling her boy at Yavneh,” Ravet reported, referring to a Jewish school in Marseille.
The mother told him Yavneh was full, and Ravet intervened to have the boy accepted there anyway.
Ravet also reports finding Islamic verses about killing homosexuals and mutilating thieves circulating among the student population.
The INN reports:
“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.”
“In the Paris region, there are virtually no more Jewish pupils attending public schools,” Kalifat told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), attributing their absence to “a bad atmosphere of harassment, insults and assaults” against Jews due to their ethnicity. They also cited growth in the Jewish education system.
Davindenkoff reportedly told JTA that he considers it a “failure” of the public education system when they cannot ensure the safety or well-being of students, to the point that one of its principals feels they need to refer Jewish students to private schools.
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