Victim of Violent Antisemitic Attack in France Moves to Israel, Joins Elite IDF Combat Unit
by Ruthie Blum
A victim of a violent antisemitic attack in France — who subsequently moved to Israel — was recruited into the IDF infantry brigade, Givati, last week, Israel Hayom reported on Sunday.
Jonathan Weinberg, a French Jew who was attacked in Versailles in 2005 at the age of 13, told the media outlet about his ordeal. “I came back from synagogue wearing a kippah and a group of eight youths jumped me, stabbed me in the stomach, beat me in the head while shouting ‘Jewish son of a bitch’ and other antisemitic slurs,” recounted Weinberg, who spent a month in the hospital in serious condition.
“I was unconscious and on a respirator, and it was really tough. I was in shock from what had happened,” he said, according to Israel Hayom, which quoted the now 24-year-old saying that, at the time, he realized, “In a situation like that of brutality against Jews for being Jews, France was no place for me.”
Weinberg said that his father was making plans to immigrate to Israel, “but unfortunately he died of a heart attack four years ago, at age 54, and didn’t manage to see his dream through. It was a very difficult time for me, which made me want to make aliyah and fulfill my father’s dream even more.”
Weinberg did this two and a half years ago, according to Israel Hayom, first studying Hebrew and then enlisting in the IDF, determined to serve in a combat unit.
After the customary grueling final induction march at the end of basic training, when soldiers receive the beret of their brigade, Weinberg said he was moved to tears by the sight of his mother, Silvie, who came to Israel to attend the ceremony.
“We only had one day together before she went back. I’m happy about what I’m doing, at peace with my choice and happy that my mother, who stayed in Paris with my sister, supports me,” he said.