‘Brokenhearted’ Nation Buries French Terror Victims in Jerusalem, Netanyahu Assails Islamists as ‘Enemies of Humanity’
The four Jewish victims of last Friday’s terror siege in a Paris kosher supermarket were laid to rest in Jerusalem on Tuesday at a state ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and other dignitaries.
“I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation,” President Rivlin said in his eulogy at the Har Hamenuchot Cemetery, standing before the four biers upon which lay the bodies, wrapped in prayer shawls, of Yoav Hattab, 21; Yohan Cohen, 22; Philippe Braham, 40; and FranÃ§ois-Michel Saada, 55.
“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.
Addressing the grieving families and friends who accompanied the coffins on the flight from France, which arrived in Israel overnight, Rivlin said it was unconscionable that “Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit.”
Noting that the victims “were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish,” Rivlin pointed to the fact that “the murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre.”
Characterizing the shooting attack as “pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories,” Rivlin said, “This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life. In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv. In Brussels, and in Mumbai. In the streets, and in the synagogues. In the schools, and in the local market. In the train stations, and in the museums.”
Rivlin called on the French Jewish community to consider emigrating to Israel.
“Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion,” he said, but called on those weighing aliyah not to make the choice out of “distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear.
“Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you,” he stressed, stating, that “the Land of Israel is the land of choice. We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.”
Netanyahu, in his eulogy told the mourning families, “How great is your pain, how immense your grief,” adding that the victims were killed “only because they were Jews.”
“I came back yesterday from Paris – most people are beginning to understand that Islamic terror is a real threat to the world,” Netanyahu said, emphasizing that its adherents “are not just the enemies of the Jews. These are the enemies of humanity, and the time has come for mankind to unite to uproot and expel them from its midst.”
Vowing that “terrorism will never beat us,” Netanyahu lauded French Jewry and their contributions to its society.
“Today we have a state of our own, one that is blossoming and advanced, one that spreads great light like a lighthouse of morality; a state that takes its fate in its hands,” Netanyahu said.
Reiterating similar statements he made in Paris, Netanyahu called on French Jewry to consider emigrating to “the one country that will always accept you with open arms.”
Labor party leader Isaac Herzog said in his comments that, “today, we are all united against terrorism, we won’t let terrorism win, determine our faith, or deter us from our path.”
French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, SégolÃ¨ne Royal, said in her eulogy that “France, without the Jews of France, isn’t France.”
After her address, Royal bestowed the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration, to the families of each of the victims.