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February 5, 2015 11:00 am

The French Military Are Sitting Ducks

avatar by Daniel Pipes

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris that was attacked on Friday by an Islamist terrorist. Photo: JJ Georges via Wikimedia Commons.

Another Islamist immigrant from Mali named Coulibaly has attacked another Jewish “Žinstitution in France. The first one, Amedy Coulibaly, murdered four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Jan. 9; “Žthis second one injured three soldiers on Tuesday as they protected a Jewish community center in Nice. “Ž

Police say Moussa Coulibaly, about 30 years old, with a record of theft and violence, and apparently not “Žrelated to Amedy, pulled a knife about 8 inches long out of a bag, injuring one soldier in the chin, one in the “Žcheek, and one in the forearm.”Ž

Coincidentally, I left Nice about four hours before this attack and had passed by that Jewish center a “Žfew days earlier, in the course of a tour of Muslim-majority areas in 10 cities across France and Belgium. Those “Žtravels brought me repeatedly in proximity to the heavily armed soldiers who protect Jewish institutions and “Žprompted several skeptical conclusions on my part about their presence: “Ž

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  • They are soldiers, not police, and so not trained to be alert to street problems. “Ž
  • They tend to get distracted by their smartphones or pretty girls passing by. “Ž
  • They clutch their assault rifles across their bodies, which leaves them vulnerable to someone “Ždriving by and shooting at them. “Ž
  • As confirmed by today’s attack, the ostensible protection they offer actually provokes Islamists “Žand other anti-Semites. “Ž
  • They are only posted temporarily to the Jewish institutions in the aftermath of the Hyper Cacher “Žattack a month ago and before long will leave.”Ž
  • They protect only the institutions themselves, not the people who come and go to them, who “Žremain as vulnerable as ever. “Ž

In short, the soldiers are sitting ducks whose deployment does little to protect the Jewish community or “Žsolve the larger problem of Islamist violence. But it does offer another instance of emotionally satisfying “Ž”Ž”security theater” which temporarily gives everyone a constructive sense of doing something. “Ž

A real solution will require much deeper and longer-range steps that concern national identity, “Žimmigration policy, integration efforts, and effective policing.

Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Eric R.

    Daniel,

    Why would anyone be afraid of the French Army? Most jokes lambasting the French deal with the cowardice of their army. And based on the last 100 years, for good reason.

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