The victim, Benjamin Amsalem, is a Marseille resident in his 30s and teaches at a Jewish school.
Police caught up with the suspected attacker after a 10-minute chase. Police said the arrestee is mentally ill, but some in the local Jewish community have argued that the likelihood of an anti-Semitic attack should not be ruled out. Zvi Amar, head of the Jewish community in Marseille, said Amsalem fought his attacker vehemently, thus preventing more serious wounds.
Only last Thursday, a man was shot dead in a Paris police station after entering to break in with a knife. Witnesses said he shouted "Allahu akbar" as he tried to break in. Police officers on the scene reported that they had seen wires running from the man's shirt and belt, making them suspect he was wearing an explosive belt. It later turned out to be a fake explosive belt.
The incident took place exactly a year after gunmen broke into the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murdered 12 people.
In October, Le Figaro reported that a rabbi and two Jewish worshipers were attacked by a man armed with a knife in Marseille.