The stars, spray painted in blue, are seen as threatening Jews amid the war between Israel and Hamas.
Paris prosecutors have opened an investigation following the discovery of some sixty Stars of David spray-painted on several buildings in the 14th arrondissement of the French capital.
The stars, symbols of the Jewish religion and the State of Israel, were stencilled in blue paint - not yellow - and are seen as threatening Jews amid the war between Israel and Hamas.
The investigation "for damage to other people's property aggravated by the fact that it was committed on the grounds of origin, race, ethnicity or religion" has been entrusted to the Paris territorial police, the prosecutor's office said.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne condemned these "despicable acts" "in the strongest possible terms" and said that the executive would "let nothing pass".
The prosecutor's office said it did not know "whether these tags were intended to insult the Jewish people or to claim Jewish membership, particularly as they involved the blue star" rather than yellow, but felt it was necessary to investigate "in view of the geopolitical context and its impact on the population".
"These stencils were marked on facades, in a way that was manifestly indifferent to what the buildings housed," said the public prosecutor. "It has therefore not been established that this star has an anti-Semitic connotation, but this cannot be dismissed out of hand."
Locals described their feelings of shock and fear as a result of the graffiti:
"I'm shocked because it saddens me enormously," said Elisabet Medeires, caretaker of one of the tagged buildings.
"I'm crying because I'm going to again feel the hatred that was there when we were kids, I don't understand it," said Marie, a resident in one of the tagged buildings.
In a statement posted on the social network X (formerly Twitter), the mayor of the 14th arrondissement, Carine Petit, described them as "anti-Semitic and racist acts".
"This act of marking is reminiscent of the methods used in the 1930s and the Second World War, which led to the extermination of millions of Jews," she said.
News of the blue Stars of David came after Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, criticised Israel's UN ambassador for wearing a yellow Star of David patch during his address to the Security Council.
"This act belittles the victims of the Holocaust as well as the state of Israel," Yad Vashem chairperson Dani Dayan said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday.
The yellow star symbolises the helplessness of the Jewish people and their being at the mercy of others," he said. "We now have an independent state and a strong army. We are the masters of our own fate."
During the Holocaust, the Nazis forced Jews to wear Star of David patches as part of a system of persecution.
'Wave of hatred'
The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) also denounced on X "a wave of hatred (...) on an unprecedented scale, (which) is corroding the social fabric, national cohesion and the values of the Republic".
Samuel Lejoyeux, President of the Union of Jewish Students of France said that there is "clearly a desire to terrify on the part of the people who did this". SOS Racisme called for "a refusal to accept the logic of importing hatred". The association said in a statement that "French Jews have nothing to answer for and nothing to suffer as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
Similar tags were also discovered in the 18th arrondissement where the mayor Éric Lejoindre has lodged a complaint.
Last weekend tags appeared in other Paris suburbs including Vanves and Fontenay-aux-Roses (Hauts-de-Seine), as well as in Aubervilliers and Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis), where the stencils were accompanied by inscriptions such as "From the sea to the Jordan, Palestine will overcome".
In Petit-Quevilly (Seine-Maritime), the public prosecutor's office has also opened an investigation following the discovery of "anti-Semitic" tags, including swastikas, insults against Jews and the State of Israel, and threats aimed directly at the town's mayor Charlotte Goujon, who has lodged a complaint.
At the French Assemblée Nationale on Tuesday, Borne insisted that it was "the duty of the Republic to protect all the Jews of France".
"All those guilty of these acts must be apprehended and condemned (...) nothing can be tolerated, justified or excused". She said that "to attack someone because they are Jewish (...) is to attack the very soul of the Republic".
Anti-Semitism on the rise
More than 800 acts of anti-Semitism have been recorded since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, French government spokesman Olivier Veran said on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told the National Assembly that this amounts to "as many in three weeks" as "the whole of last year".
Darmanin added that 425 people had been arrested and "27 people placed in administrative detention centres".
France’s Pharos reporting platform also received 6000 reports of anti-Semitic acts, according to the Interior Ministry.
In a televised address earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron urged French people not to allow the war in the Mideast to erupt into tensions at home.
France is estimated to have the third-largest Jewish population in the world after Israel and the US and the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.