28 Oct, 2020

The four Jewish victims of Friday’s attack on the HyperCacher Kosher market in Paris were laid to rest in Jerusalem Tuesday, capping off three days of tributes which began Sunday in France. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself flew to Paris to pay his respects and the respects of the entire country.

Netanyahu attended a march Sunday along with dozens of world leaders and an estimated 3.5 million others, expressing solidarity against terrorism. He later spoke at Paris’s Great Synagogue. The following day, he toured the HyperCacher and met with Celine Shreki, who had been held hostage there.

“I wish to convey my condolences to the families of the journalists and police and all those innocent people who were murdered while realizing their most basic rights: freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of belief, even the freedom not to believe,” Netanyahu said in his speech at the Great Synagogue. The people of Israel, he continued, share in the pain of Paris, as Israel and Jews have been targeted in an ongoing attack against Western values. He also made a point of thanking Muslim store employee Lassana Bathily for saving seven lives.

However, Netanyahu did not shy away from calling a spade a spade.  “Today we bow our heads in memory of the victims in Paris. However, as representatives of an ancient and proud people, we stand tall against evil because we can overcome it. ‘The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread’ – because truth and justice are on our side. And here is the truth: Our shared enemy is radical Islam, not Islam and not just radicals – radical Islam. This form of Islam has many names: ISIS, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, al-Shabab, Hezbollah; but they are all branches from the same poison tree.”

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He added, “Israel stands with Europe and Europe must stand with Israel. As the civilized world today stands with France against terror, so must it stand with Israel against terror. It is the exact same terror. Those who slaughtered Jews in the synagogue in Jerusalem and those who slaughtered Jews and journalists in Paris belong to the same murderous terrorist movement. They should be condemned in the same measure and they must be fought in the same manner.”

From Paris, Netanyahu returned to Israel in time for the victims’ funerals. Philippe Braham, 40; Yohan Cohen, 22; Yoav Hattab, 21; and Francois-Michel Saada, in his 60s; were laid to rest in Juersalem’s Har HaMenuchot (Mount of Eternal Rest) cemetery. In addition to Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog, ministers, MKs, Israel’s chief rabbis, and other dignitaries, including France’s Environmental Affairs and Energy Minister, Segolene Royal, attended.

“Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life,” Rivlin said in his eulogy, reported by Israel National News. He went on to urge the Jews of France to come to Israel.

“Our land is your land, our homes are your homes,” he said.

“Jewish blood is not worthless,” he concluded. “Human blood is not worthless. The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem. May they be of blessed memory.”

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Monday that France would deploy 5,000 security and police officers to protect the country’s 700 Jewish schools, reported The Times of Israel.