Israeli Reporter Recalls Paris Terrorist as Antisemitic Bully in High School
An Israeli journalist originally from France was shocked to discover that one of the terrorists who took part in the Paris attacks last week was someone from his home town, and with whom he attended high school, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.
Julien Bahloul said of 29-year-old Omar Ismayil Mostefai, who blew himself up at the Bataclan Theater during Friday night’s multi-pronged attacks – and was later identified by one of his severed fingers – that the two had grown up together in Courcouronnes, a poor suburb south of Paris.
Bahloul, a reporter and anchorman at i24 News, said that though he did not initially remember Mostefai, he understood from the terrorist’s biographical details that he had lived in the same neighborhood, was the same age and had attended the same school.
What Bahloul did recall clearly, however, was “suffering greatly from antisemtism at that school.”
One of Bahloul’s classmates, a Muslim who always stood up for him and other Jewish students victimized by antisemitic verbal and physical assaults, said he not only remembered Mostefai, but remembered having to defend Jewish students — including Bahloul — from him, according to Channel 2.
Bahloul described his feelings in the wake of the Paris attacks, which left more than 130 dead and several hundred wounded, and after realizing his former connection to one of its perpetrators.
It is a sense, Bahloul told Channel 2, “that those attacks were close to me, and reminds me of the problem with French society, which I have known about for a long time – that the French are not waking up to the fact that a portion of their youth have gone crazy. [They have not] wanted to see the escalating extremism of kids in the suburbs.”
Contemplating the opposite paths he and Mostefai took in life, Bahloul said, “I immigrated to Israel and became a journalist, while he went to Syria and became a terrorist.”