The heartrending massacre of the 10 journalists and two police officers at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on Wednesday morning during an editorial meeting sent shock waves reverberating across the world.
In Jerusalem, on a cold rainy night, nearly 100 people gathered together at the French consulate to pay homage to the victims of the deadly terror attack. Carrying ‘Je Suis Charlie’ signs and memorial candles, the demonstrators held a two minute silence.
“Unfortunately in Jerusalem, we know too well the very difficult tragedy that the French people are going through now,” said the event organizer, Danielle Kriegel in an interview with Tazpit News Agency.
“We are here today to show our unity and solidarity with the people of France, with all those who make up the fabric of French society including Muslims, Jews and Christians.”
“As a proud French and Israeli citizen, I am very saddened and shocked by what happened,” said Kriegel, who made aliyah from France 45 years ago and has raised her family in Israel. “I felt that organizing this rally was something that I had to do – to show the people of France that we are all one and that Jerusalem is united with them,” she told Tazpit.
For Kriegel the tragedy was a personal one, having known Charlie Hebdo’s editor and chief cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier (Charb) on a personal level. “Charb was a good friend of my husband and once visited us here in Jerusalem. He was a very dedicated journalist with a wonderful smile and sense of humor,” Kriegel recalled.
“The tragedy is just as much professional as it is personal because as a fellow journalist, I know the power of the pen and all that comes with it,” continued Kriegel, who covers Israel as a correspondent for French and Belgian media. “Journalism is a tough profession and the journalists of Charlie Hebdo did their work splendidly – and with humor.”
For others, like Lea C., 24, from Paris, who is spending the year in Israel, the Paris massacre was shocking. “It happened a few streets away from where my mom works,” she told Tazpit. “Even though I didn’t personally know any of those killed, I think this tragedy touched everyone on a very personal level. Those people who died yesterday were respectable personalities whose work made France a country based on the pillars of freedom of speech and freedom of press.”
“This moment of silence in Jerusalem is for the victims and for all of France. We have the right to make fun of whatever we want” said Lea, who grew up reading the Charlie Hebdo magazine at home. “I hope this is the last time we ever hear of such a tragedy.”