JERUSALEM, Israel -- Anti-Semitic attacks against French Jews have risen by 40 percent in the five months since an Islamic terrorist murdered a rabbi and three children at a Jewish day school in Toulouse.
On March 19, Mohammed Merah gunned down 30-year-old Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his sons Arieh, 6, and Gabriel, 3, and Miriam Monsonego, the 8-year-old daughter of Ozar Hatorah's principal.
In a meeting Tuesday with French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, Simon Weisenthal Center Dean Abraham Cooper said Jewish families in Toulouse, Marseille, and Lyon were experiencing a surge in anti-Semitic attacks, Reuters reported.
Valls confirmed "an increase of 40 percent in anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish crimes" since the attack in March.
He called it a "shocking number" because "French authorities on both sides of the political aisle" immediately took the right steps in response to the murders.
The two men also discussed the "very pivotal role" social media and the Internet play in "incubating" Islamic terrorism.
Cooper said many French Jews are sending their children abroad to study and some are seriously considering aliyah, immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return.
France has the world's third largest Jewish population (about 500,000), behind Israel (close to 6 million), and the United States (about 6.5 million).