Tag Archives: Algeria

Algeria cancels soccer match due to Israeli manager

Algeria’s soccer team have pulled out of a friendly match with Ghana only because the latter has an Israeli head coach.

The Algerian team dropped out of the match to ensure that Avram Grant did not enter the country.

Avram Grant - not allowed into Algeria
Avram Grant – not allowed into Algeria

“The Algerian national team cancelled the friendly match with Ghana because it refused to host Ghana’s Israeli coach, Avraham (sic) Grant,” Algerian journalist Ayman Gada confirmed on Facebook.

Grant, the former Chelsea manager, has been in Ghana for the past two years. He had been the coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.

Algeria last played Ghana in 2015’s Africa Cup of Nations, when Grant’s team won 1-0.

Algeria has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. The country used to have more than 100,000 Jews, but the vast majority of them left after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and during the country’s bloody war of independence against France.

Algeria has a mixed attitude toward Jews. In 2014 the country announced it would reopen synagogues that had been closed since the 1990s. However in 2015 Algerian Islamists called for attacks on Jews and later that year a video surfaced of Algerian troops marching to chants about murdering Jews.

Algeria came fourth on a list of the world’s most anti-Semitic countries.

New Jewish French Minister Appointed – Algeria annoyed – Guess why?

As part of a recent government reshuffle in France, Audrey Azoulay, a former culture advisor to French President François Hollande and former director of the National Center of Cinematography, was appointed as France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, replacing Fleur Pellerin.

imagesBorn in Morocco, Audrey Azoulay is the daughter of André Azoulay, an advisor to King Mohamed VI and before him to king Hassan II, and consequently her appointment did not go unnoticed in North Africa.

According to the French-language website Mondafrique, which posts news and analyses on the Maghreb and Africa, several Algerian officials expressed displeasure at her appointment, including Sa’id Bouteflika, a brother and advisor to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who even complained about it to an advisor of the French President. The site estimated that the source of the displeasure was an Algerian concern about the growing influence of Moroccan figures in the French media and political arena. Another factor, the site hinted, is Morocco’s good reputation in terms of its tolerance towards Jews, which too is a source of annoyance for Algeria.

The francophone Moroccan website Le360 likewise commented on the Algerian objections to Azoulay’s appointment, stating that they had “antisemitic overtones,” and that they stemmed from Algeria’s hostility towards Morocco and towards its “socialist president” Hollande. Like Mondafrique, this site estimated that Algeria was concerned about Morocco’s influence over France, especially since Algerian President Bouteflika believed that Hollande “belonged” to him.

Read more here.

 

A tale of the sad decline of once thriving community

LA COURNEUVE, France — From this Paris suburb’s only Jewish facility The Jewish Standard reports that Rabbi Prosper Abenaim serves sweet tea to his synagogue’s most frequent and reliable guests: machine-gun-toting troops of the French Legion.

Six soldiers, posted here to defend Jews in this heavily Muslim and crime-stricken municipality, which borders the capital, are the first new faces seen in years in this dwindling community, which has lost thousands of congregants over the past two decades to Israel and safer areas of Paris. On some mornings, the troops outnumber worshippers.

That wasn’t the case when Abenaim first arrived at La Courneuve’s Ahavat Chalom synagogue in 1992. There were more than 4,000 Jews in the neighborhood then, and it was a struggle to fit them all into the synagogue on Yom Kippur.

“The shul overflowed onto the street,” Abenaim recalled.

Since then, improved economic fortunes and repeated anti-Semitic attacks have driven all but 100 Jewish families from the neighborhood, where drug dealers operate openly on streets that residents say police are too afraid to patrol. The remaining Jews are mostly a graying bunch, stuck here for financial reasons.

“We have two big problems, extremism and criminality, and they often mix,” said Abenaim, who lives in Paris’ affluent and heavily Jewish 17th arrondisement and has encouraged his congregants to leave for Israel. “I understand why people don’t want to raise children here. I’m here myself only because of my duties. Otherwise, I’d be in Israel.”

La Courneuve’s reputation for criminality is well established and reflected in the security measures at Ahavat Chalom, which resembles a fortress with its heavy metal doors, multitude of security cameras, and three armed soldiers in military camouflage at the entrance. For years, the city has ranked among the most violent in France, with 19 assaults per 1,000 residents recorded in 2013.

On street corners near the city center, gangs of young men openly exchange drugs for cash. By noon, prostitutes are soliciting clients on Pasteur Boulevard, a main traffic artery.

Near the synagogue, a group of men wearing colorful sports clothes stand around smoking cigarettes and marijuana on a Monday morning. One of them, a native of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin who identified himself only as Degree, said he felt safe “to do whatever here” because “police won’t come here, they’re too scared. If they come, we just kill them.”

Religious extremism is more difficult to measure, but its effects nonetheless are evident. Last month, La Courneuve became the final resting place of Samy Amimour, one of the suicide bombers who killed 130 people in multiple coordinated attacks in Paris in November and whose family lives nearby.

Security around the synagogue was beefed up after those attacks, but the soldiers already were in place. Their presence is part of Operation Sentinel, launched in response to the January 2015 murder of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris. Ahavat Chalom, which survived a fire sparked by four firebombs in 2002, is considered especially at risk.

Over the past 15 years, such attacks have spurred many Jews to leave poor Parisian suburbs like La Courneuve in favor of safer neighborhoods, according to Bernard Edinger, a Paris-based former senior correspondent for Reuters.

“Tens of thousands changed neighborhoods, pushed by the hostility of their Arab neighbors or drawn elsewhere through social mobility,” Edinger wrote last month in the Jerusalem Post.

Aubervilliers, a municipality adjacent to La Courneuve, once had three synagogues and many kosher shops. Today there is one synagogue and kosher food is available on one shelf at a regular supermarket, according to the Tribune Juive weekly.

Sammy Ghozlan, founder of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, a nongovernmental watchdog group, said that while immigration from France to Israel has reached record levels, it accounts for only about 15,000 people over the past decade. Many more French Jews have been internally displaced, Ghozlan said, as they moved farther from Paris or into the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.

Abenaim said he has seen this happening before his eyes. Congregants from La Courneuve have left the area and settled near Abenaim’s home in the 17th arrondissement, which had no synagogues 30 years ago and now boasts no fewer than eight.

Meanwhile, La Courneuve has seen a proliferation of Islamic schools and apartment-size mosques located deep in the maze of drab public housing projects. One of the mosques was a synagogue in the 1960s, when the first Jews arrived here as refugees fleeing the war in Algeria. The 1962 arrival of 4,000 French Jews gave the name to one of La Courneuve’s main projects, now known as the City of 4,000.

Alain Felous, a French Jewish photographer, moved to La Courneuve in 1996 for the low rent and proximity to his workplace and his children, who live with their mother in Paris. To protect himself, he has adopted a tough attitude and taken to wearing bulky coats in all weather to signal that he might be armed.

“Of course I’d rather live in the 17th, or someplace nicer,” Felous said. “I’m not here to make a point. Living here as a Jew isn’t for everyone.”

On a trip to the supermarket, Felous paid for the apples of a fellow shopper, an elderly Arab woman with whom he cracked a few jokes. But he was also on guard, kicking the shopping cart of a fellow shopper who had cut him in line while delivering a juicy curse.

“You have to respond immediately here, or they will eat you alive,” Felous said.

Breaking news: French Jewish lawmaker found murdered near Paris

The body of a French Jewish municipal councillor was found Tuesday morning at his apartment, stabbed multiple times and badly beaten.

Alain Ghozland, 73, was described by the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF) as a “prominent leader of the local Jewish community.”

Originally from Algeria, he lived in the heavily Jewish Paris suburb of Créteil, about seven miles from the French capital. It is also the town where a Jewish couple was attacked – and raped – by robbers in December 2014.

“People are upset. They do not know what to think and ask a lot of questions,” a relative told L’Express and other media.

He was found after his brother called police when he did not show up for regular shacharit morning prayers at their synagogue.

According to the report by Le Figaro, there were also signs of forced entry into Ghozland’s home, and that the apartment was ransacked. His car was also missing.

The family has raised the possibility that he was attacked due to his identity as a Jew. Judicial sources have said an autopsy is to be performed to determine the cause of death due to the attack.

Police have no leads as yet, according to L’Express.

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