World Report

PARIS (JTA) — France's Jewish leaders view the success of France's extreme-right National Front in this week's second and final round of municipal elections as a grim, but crucial, moment in French history.

"This is a turning point in the political history of France," said a member of CRIF, the umbrella organization representing French Jewry.

"For the first time in 50 years, an extreme, right-wing, nationalistic party that is heir to the ones existing before World War II has won mayorships. This is very disturbing and it enables [National Front leader Jean-Marie] Le Pen to forward his ideas," the CRIF member said.

The electoral showing of the National Front, which won municipal races in three French cities as a result of Sunday's voting, reportedly prompted former Socialist Premier Laurent Fabius to call for a boycott of the cities now under the National Front's sway.

Fabius, who is of Jewish descent and who has long been the object of attacks and cartoons in the far-right media, said companies, artists and sports personalities should avoid doing business in the three cities.

Fabius said in a radio interview that "it was up to everyone" to show " that voting for the National Front backfires" on those who vote for them.

Turkish police arrest suspect in car bombing of Jewish leader

NEW YORK (JTA) — Turkish police have a suspect in connection with the car bombing of the president of the Ankara Jewish community, Yuda Yurum, the Turkish news agency Anatoliya reported.

Ismet Kalizir, who is being held in Ankara, reportedly has ties to Islamic fundamentalist movements.

Police captured him in Izmir, Turkey, after he reputedly approached a local television station, claiming responsibility for the attack.

Police reportedly are looking into the claim, though some details of the suspect's account supposedly do not match the police version.

The attack on Yurum was not serious, but it is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks aimed at the Jewish community in Turkey.

Two nations pool efforts to stop wave of letter bombs to Jews

VIENNA (JTA) — German and Austrian investigators are combining their efforts to stop a wave of letter bombs that have terrorized both countries and baffled police. Authorities believe the bombings were committed by neo-Nazis and other extremists motivated by anti-Semitism.

German officials have already examined possible links between Palestinian splinter groups and rightist organizations in Austria and Germany, the German weekly Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday.

In Germany, a letter bomb exploded recently at the city hall in the northern city of Lubeck. The bomb was addressed to the city's deputy mayor, Dieter Szameit, who had called for stern action against neo-Nazi groups in the wake of a firebombing at the Lubeck synagogue in March 1994.

Last year's incident was the first firebombing of a Jewish house of worship in Germany since the days of the Third Reich.

The Lubeck synagogue was also the target of a failed arson attempt in May.

In the past year and a half, a series of 18 letter bomb attacks have been made in Austria.