European Rabbis Set to Congregate in Toulouse 3 Years After Merah Shooting Spree
More than 200 Orthodox religious leaders from across Europe are set to congregate in the southern French city of Toulouse on May 12, about three years after an Islamic extremist went on a shooting spree in the city targeting a Jewish day school.
A statement from the Conference of European Rabbis released Friday said Toulouse was chosen as the location out of respect for the four people who were killed by 23-year-old gunman Mohammed Merah outside the Otzar HaTorah School in the city in March 2012
Merah — who also killed a French Muslim paratrooper and two uniformed soldiers all within eight days — was ultimately shot dead by French police following a 30-hour siege.
CER Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: “To go to Toulouse three years after the horrific attacks – that affected all of us and our communities – allows us to commemorate the attacks and put into place vital plans for the future of the European Jewish Community.”
The group’s 29th convention — to be held just a few months after two deadly terrorist attacks against Jews in Paris and Copenhagen — will include chief rabbis from Israel, Britain, France, Italy, Denmark and Russia.
In addition, the CER announced it will present the Lord Jakobovits prize for European Jewry to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has been one of the current French government’s most vocal critics of rising antisemitism in France.