Posts Tagged ‘Paris’
By Yotam Rozenwald
Thousands of Israelis showed their solidarity and sympathy at the funerals of the four victims killed by a terrorist attack on the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher in Paris.
The victims were buried on Tuesday, January 13 at noon in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. All the victims were Jewish; Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, Phillipe Barham and Francois-Michel Saada.
Although the victims were French citizens, their families asked the Israeli authorities for permission to bury their bodies in Israel. Israel’s government agreed, and made the necessary arrangements.
The funerals were attended by many Israeli public figures, as well as key figures from the French Jewish community, numbered at 500,000 strong. Speeches were made by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of opposition Isaac Herzog and French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development and Energy, Segolene Royal.
Prime Minister Netanyahu talked about his visit to Paris the previous day during his speech at the funerals. “Yesterday, I returned from Paris, where I participated in the anti-terror march alongside leaders from all over the world. I think that the majority of them understand, or at least starting to understand, that radical Islam is a real threat to world peace”.The Israeli prime minister also added that Islamic terror is not just a Jewish or Israeli problem but a problem for all humanity. “It is time all people of all cultures unite, and eject these elements among us.”
President Rivlin addressed French minister, Royal, saying: “European leaders must obligate themselves to act in an effective manner; they must obligate themselves and act with a firm hand, so that Jewish people in Europe can feel safe again, whether in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels or Burgos.”
French Minister, Royal commented that “I want to give my condolences on behalf of the French Republic, which shares your grief…the victims were murdered for being Jewish, which is outrageous.”
“Anti-Semitism has no place in France and that is the message carried by the millions of French people who marched on Sunday.” Royal, announced in her eulogy that the four victims will receive a posthumous French honor, “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur ” (Legion of Honor), which is the highest decorative honor bestowed in France.
Many thousands of people attended the funeral in Jerusalem for the Paris HyperCacher terror victims on January 13, 2015. The funeral was held at the Har Menuchot cemetery in Jerusalem:
Photo by: Hillel Meir / Tazpit News Agency
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Two days following the deadly terror attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris, veteran ZAKA volunteers from Israel traveled to France to join their volunteer colleagues in the Paris Zaka unit. On Sunday evening, January 11, ZAKA International Rescue Unit head Mati Goldstein and veteran ZAKA volunteer Dano Monkotovitz immediately flew out to Paris to the site of the supermarket terror attack that left four Jewish hostages dead.
Volunteers from ZAKA Paris, under the command of Rabbi Tzemach (Serge) Ben Naim, had already been working at the scene for several hours, collecting remains and working to ensure a full Jewish burial for the victims; Yoav Hattab, 21, Yohan Cohen, 22, Philippe Braham, and Francois-Michel Saada.
Goldstein noted that the Israeli ZAKA volunteers were able to get special permission from the Attorney General of France to enter the attack scene and help collect remains. “After complex discussions and outreach of ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, together with the Foreign Ministry and Jewish community leaders in Paris, we were able to get permission from the Attorney General of France to enter the scene of the attack,” he said.
“We went to the supermarket late at night under the security of the French police and we worked to gather all the findings at the scene,” added Goldstein.
The Parisian volunteers of ZAKA were trained one year ago at the initiative of the President of the Consistoire in France, Dr. Joel Mergui. “They were very professional in their response, despite the pain that comes with personal acquaintance with the victims,” described Goldstein.
ZAKA Paris commander Rabbi Ben Naim, who also serves as the President of the Jewish Burial Society (Chevrah Kadisha) further commented that “this is a very difficult attack for France as a whole and the Jewish community in particular.”
“At first, the French police did not understand why it is important for us to enter the scene and collect the findings of the victims in order to give them a proper Jewish burial. However, after we explained the religious significance to them, we received the necessary authorization,” explained Rabbi Ben Naim.
“What moved me is that when we arrived on the scene at the supermarket, there were hundreds of French Jews, religious and secular, standing there,” he said.
“When the crowd saw the ZAKA team go into the supermarket to do the holy work, they showed their appreciation, especially when they saw Jews from France and Israel coming together to perform true virtue – the holiest work of Chessed Shel Emet – with the blood of their brothers which was spilled like water,” added Rabbi Ben Naim.
“It was a very difficult scene inside the supermarket. It was as if time stood still, with shopping carts full of food in preparation for Shabbat in the cashier aisles and deliveries waiting to be sent to customers. But the floor was covered in the blood of the victims,” said Paris ZAKA volunteer Avraham Weinberg.
The ZAKA volunteers also worked at the scene of the terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices where, it has been discovered, there were three Jews among the victims.
On Monday, January 12, the ZAKA volunteers worked with the local burial society to treat the bodies of the victims and prepare them to fly to Israel for burial.
Also on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Paris supermarket, Hyper Cacher, to pay respects to the families of the victims, killed by Islamist extremist Amedy Coulibaly.
There’s indication and reports that the French government did everything it could to try and dissuade Israeli PM Netanyahu from visiting France and participating in their unity march, and when that failed, they insulted him with political snubs.
Security may sound like valid concern for not wanting Netanyahu there, but with 40 other world leaders present, that excuse sounds feeble.
The bottom line is that Hollande didn’t want Netanyahu raining on France’s parade.
Because France is different. France’s terrorism is not like Israel’s terrorism.
France’s terrorism is against liberté and equality and fraternity.
While in France’s eyes, as the French media pointed out, Israel’s terrorism stems from a political dispute.
And if France wasn’t sure Israel understood that message, if Bibi dared show up, France would condescendingly invite the head of the PLO to march next to Bibi just to make that point absolutely clear.
But to their dismay Netanyahu showed up, and he didn’t let them keep him in the second row, or put him on the second bus, and he didn’t stand next to the Munich Massacre financier Abu Mazen either.
And it was incredibly important that Netanyahu did all that.
Because while numerous countries around the world are dealing with Islamic terrorism, it is Israel that has faced it from the beginning, and has fought it, often quite alone, not just for Israel’s sake, but for the entire world’s.
Over the past few years so, the Jewish communities of France have been subject to terrorism and violent anti-Semitism. Terrorism because they were Jewish, not because they were French or drew some offensive cartoons.
The Islamic terrorist attacks in France last week were the natural evolution of those attacks on the Jewish people.
But when the Islamic terrorists murdered Ilan Halimi and the Jewish children in Toulouse, they weren’t just attacking some Jews, like the French perhaps thought. They were attacking France itself and the values it stands for. The Jews were just first in line.
Netanyahu’s participation at the front of the march, on the first bus, and in the Paris Synagogue were messages that France and Hollande need to hear – that Israel and the Jewish people are one, we stand together, and we lead the fight against Islamic terrorism for us and for you.
The terrorism that France faces is the same exact terrorism that Israel fights, and when that terrorism in France was primarily directed at Jews, when the French didn’t yet comprehend that it was also directed at them and at their liberté and democracy, we in Israel, we the Jewish people understood it completely.
Upon entering the Paris synagogue, Netanyahu was greeted with cheers and song, not because he is the Prime Minister of Israel, but because he is viewed as the Prime Minister of the Jewish people.
By snubbing Netanyahu, France wasn’t just snubbing Israel, it was snubbing France’s own Jewish citizens, it was belittling the previous terror attacks against France’s Jewish communities, and showing that France doesn’t yet fully comprehend the magnitude of its latest encounter with Islamic terror.
One hopes that Hollande and France will understand Netanyahu’s message, and realize that France must unconditionally stand with Israel against Islamic terror, just as Israel and the Jewish people stand with France in their hour of need, at the front of the line.
The bodies of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada are being transported to Israel by El Al for their funeral.
El Al will be flying then in tomorrow, along with their families. They will arrive in Israel on Tuesday morning.
Yoav Hattab, 21, is the son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis.