French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday urged France's Jews to stay in the country, after hundreds of Jewish tombs were defaced in the eastern part of the country, and in the wake of calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Europe's Jews to emigrate to Israel.
"My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave," Valls said. "I regret Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks .... The place for French Jews is France."
He said there were "no leads" regarding the perpetrators of the attack on the graves at a Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, near the German border.
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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve branded the vandalism an "odious act" against religious freedom and tolerance.
In a statement Sunday, Cazeneuve said that a special criminal investigation team is at the cemetery and vowed that the authorities would do "everything" to pursue the vandals.
Valls made a similar appeal in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris last month, which included a shooting at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket that left four French Jews dead.
"100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France," Valls said in January. "The French Republic will be judged a failure."
There has been a dramatic rise in recent years in the number of French Jews leaving for Israel, citing rising anti-Semitism and a weak economy. In 2014, the number of departing French Jews reached its peak, with some 7,000 leaving the country.