In the wake of the two separate hostage situations in Paris Friday that resulted in six deaths, the hashtag #JeSuisJuif – which translates to “I am Jewish” – has started to trend on Twitter. In an apparent response to the hostage situation in a kosher supermarket, the hashtag is being used by Jews and non-Jews alike to express their outrage and solidarity with the French Jewish community.
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— Moshe Rubinstein (@Moshe_Law) January 9, 2015
Sending more love and prayers to France today. I spent a great deal of time in the Jewish Quarters, what a tragedy. #jeSuisJuif
— Jen Sandler (@jensandler) January 9, 2015
My thoughts at Friday night dinner are with the people caught up in today's attacks. שבת שלום #JeSuisJuif
— Anthony Shaw (@AnthonyShaw_) January 9, 2015
My daughter just asked me: Why do people hate us so much? And I had no answer. #JeSuisJuif
— Marisa Fox (@marisafox) January 9, 2015
We must stand by French Jews as we stood by French cartoonists and police #JeSuisJuif
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) January 9, 2015
I'm not one to post my religious or political views on Twitter, but this world we live in is becoming one hell of a scary place. #JeSuisJuif
— Andrew Goldman (@andrewgoldman33) January 9, 2015
A gunman, now identified as Amedy Coulibaly, took several hostages at the supermarket Friday afternoon in the Jewish district Le Marais in central Paris. According to witnesses, he said, “You know who I am” when he entered the store. The hostages were reportedly released and the gunman killed after a police siege. Coulibaly is reportedly linked to the deadly shooting of a female police officer on Thursday. A female accomplice of Coulibaly in the supermarket incident remains at large.
About 30 kilometers away, police closed in on two of three men suspected in Wednesday’s attack at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The brothers had taken a hostage at a printing house northeast of Paris, and were killed by police after a lengthy standoff.
In a statement Friday, French President François Hollande called the supermarket siege an “anti-Semitic attack” and vowed to protect France’s “free society.”
During the simultaneous hostage situations, the Paris mayor office shut down shops along Rosiers Street in the famed Jewish neighborhood. The area is usually crowded with shoppers ahead of Shabbat, which began Friday at sundown. The Grand Synagogue of Paris, the city’s largest place of Jewish worship, closed for security reasons. It is the first time since World War II that the synagogue will not host services for Shabbat.
France has the third-largest Jewish population in the world, after Israel and the United States. According to Roger Cukierman, the head of France's umbrella group for Jewish organizations, the CRIF, anti-Semitic acts have been on the rise.
"Jews feel in danger. Some are already leaving France," Cukierman said at a rally in December, the BBC reports.