French government sounds alarm over rising anti-Semitic acts

PARIS (AP) — France's prime minister is sounding the alarm over a sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts this year, pledging to increase efforts to punish perpetrators and police hate speech online.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on his Facebook page Friday a 69 percent rise in the number of anti-Semitic acts reported to police in the first nine months of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

He didn't indicate a reason for the rise, and the government would not release specific figures. In 2017, the government reported 311 anti-Semitic acts, from swastikas on Jewish gravesites to physical attacks on people wearing kippas.

The Interior Ministry said part of the rise could be attributed to a government push to encourage people to report hate crimes.