PARIS (JTA) – An Arab-Frenchman accused of assaulting a rabbi and his son after stabbing a Jewish man in Marseille was jailed days after his mother discredited his insanity plea.
Farid Adouche was charged with aggravated assault on Oct. 29, according to Michele Teboul, a leader of the Jewish community of Marseille. Five days earlier, hours after he allegedly assaulted Rabbi Acher Amoyal and his 19-year-old son near their synagogue and stabbed another 44-year-old man in the abdomen, he underwent a psychiatric evaluation. The stabbing victim suffered serious injuries.
Teboul, who heads the CRIF branch in Marseille, challenged Adouche’s insanity plea after he said the assailant’s mother said at a court hearing that her son was perfectly sane.
Amoyal said he heard the aggressor mumble something that resembles “Allah is the greatest” in Arabic before the attack. The rabbi told the Actualité Juive newspaper that the attacker seemed sane and hateful during the assault, which took place early on a Sabbath as Amoyal and the other two victims were returning from Amoyal’s synagogue.
Teboul said the incident had temporarily undermined the community’s trust in the local police and “worsened an atmosphere of fear which used to not apply to our community but is becoming a part of its reality.”
Amoyal and the other victims said passers-by ignored the assault, opting to walk back to the synagogue rather than ask locals for help.
Adouche’s labeling as criminally insane prompted considerable criticism in the French media, where some viewed it as a failure to address an anti-Semitic incident in a city where officials have boasted better coexistence than in Paris and elsewhere in France.