On July 13, the eve of Bastille Day (a national holiday in France), a mob laid siege to the Don Abravanel synagogue in the Eleventh district of Paris. The “protesters,” mainly of North African Arab origin, had broken off from a larger demonstration supported by a small band of left-wing allies – Communists, militant anti-Zionist Trotskyists, a few environmentalists, and trade unionists – waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Death to the Jews” (Mort aux Juifs) along with the Islamist battle cry, Allahu Akbar!
The synagogue, located in Rue de la Roquette, was filled with about 200 congregants who were forced to barricade themselves within as the rioters, some of them armed with chairs, clubs, and knives, sought to break their way in. They were held off by a small group of policemen, Jewish activists, and members of the Jewish Community Protection Service. But it took three hours for the siege to be lifted, and then only thanks to the very belated arrival of special police reinforcements.
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