Scene of attack outside Jewish school in Toulouse (archives)
Photo: AFP

United with Israel against anti-Semitism

Op-ed: On one year anniversary of Toulouse attack, French ambassador to Israel says fight against terror will not stop

Miriam Monsonego, Jonathan, Gabrial and Arieh Sandler – we have not forgotten you. You were murdered at your beloved school on March 19, 2012 just because you were Jews. We have not forgotten you, just as we have not forgotten the three paratroopers - Imad ibn Ziaten, Abel Chennouf and Mohamed Legouad – who were killed a few days earlier because they were soldiers in the French army, which is proud to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Mali.


On Sunday a particularly moving memorial ceremony was held in Toulouse. Many French citizens, including the president of the Republic, remembered the victims of the attack – the most horrific act France has known since World War Two. The country was shocked. The entire nation, from the average citizen to then-President Nicolas Sarkozy, fell into mourning and cried for its children. Israel and France stood united in the face of the tragedy. François Hollande and Benjamin Netanyahu validated this sentiment when they visited the Ohr Torah School together in November.


Today my thoughts are with Shmuel Sandler, the father and grandfather of the victims, who even in moments of great pain displayed endless wisdom and ruled out any thoughts of revenge. Today I am also thinking about Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, whose daughter was killed before his eyes at the school where he served as headmaster. During the memorial ceremony marking one year since the attack, I was once again deeply moved by the courage displayed by Rabbi Monsonego and his wife Yaffa, who remained in Toulouse. The school, the Jewish community and the entire city are grateful to them.


Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah (Archive photo: AFP)
Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah (Archive photo: AFP)


The murderer refused to give himself up and was killed. His brother was arrested and legal proceedings have been launched against him. An investigation is being conducted to track down possible culprits. President Hollande vowed that France would get to the bottom of the affair. Security around schools, synagogues and community centers has been beefed up, and additional funds have been allocated towards this end. Moreover, France passed a law that gives the police more power to arrest people who travel to camps for training in conflict zones like Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The fight against terror and anti-Semitism will not stop. The measures we are taking have been recognized and praised by the Israeli authorities and Jewish organizations. France has given this battle the status of a national priority a while ago, but there remain criminals who continue to pose a challenge for our country. Anti-Semitism increased in 2012 and returned to the level that characterized it in the beginning of the millennium. Today's anti-Semitism is more violent; it is being disseminated though the Internet and in prisons, forcing us to constantly seek new tools to deal with it.


This fight is conducted daily, and we are determined to succeed, because anti-Semitism deeply hurts the values and identity of the French Republic. Anyone who attacks a Jew is attacking all of France's citizens. Miriam, Jonathan, Gabrial and Arieh will remain with us forever.


Christoph Bigot is the French ambassador to Israel



פרסום ראשון: 03.19.13, 20:17
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