58ºF

French president inaugurates Jewish center in Paris

France's President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference, in Saint-Denis, La Reunion island, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. In a speech Friday on Reunion island, at the end of a four-day trip to French overseas territories, Macron said he wants the countries to have a "shared agenda" on the archipelago, especially to protect its biodiversity. (AP Photo/Fabrice Wislez) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron has given a speech inaugurating the European Judaism Center in Paris.

The 5,000-square-meter (53,820-square-foot) space that was opened Tuesday is a place of exchange and boasts a synagogue with 600 seats and an exhibition center.

Macron said "this center is an act of faith in the future."

It comes as part of a broader fight against rising anti-Semitism in France, the country with the largest Jewish population in Western Europe and one with a painful story for Jews during the Holocaust.

The center took over a decade to realize and was also given impetus because of extremist attacks in France, such as the killings at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 and a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris in 2015.