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January 12, 2016 1:33 pm

Report: Chumash Saved Life of Marseille Machete-Attack Victim

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Benjamin Amsellem, following the machete attack outside a French-Jewish school in Marseilles. Photo: JSS News.

Benjamin Amsallem, following the machete attack outside a French-Jewish school in Marseilles. Photo: JSS News.

It was a Chumash (a Torah in printed form) that most likely saved the life of the victim of Monday’s machete attack in Marseilles, local French newspaper LaProvence reported on Tuesday.

A copy of the Hebrew Bible in Benjamin Amsallem’s pocket apparently blocked the blow of the blade, preventing a more serious injury. Amsallem is a Bible teacher at the Franco-Hebraic institute “La Source,” where the attack took place,

According to the site — quoting French prosecutors — the assailant, a 15-year-old Turkish student of Kurdish origin, claimed he had committed the stabbing “in the name of ISIS.”

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The teenager’s lunging at Amsallem, 35, appeared to be intentional, as the teacher was wearing a kippah (Jewish skullcap) and traditional Orthodox garb.

The young slasher, identified by the site only as “Yusuf,” managed to hit Amsallem in the shoulder and knock him to the ground, but the Torah instructor fought back by kicking the boy and using the holy book as a shield.

This, LaProvence noted, was “more than a symbolic detail at the epicenter of the clearly antisemitic act of aggression.”

According to UK newspaper The Independent, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin said the boy praised Allah and ISIS as he was being detained, telling officers: “The Muslims of France dishonor Islam and the French army protects Jews.”

That a Kurdish Muslim would claim to carry out an attack on behalf of ISIS underscores the reach of the group. Western-backed Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq and Syria have been battling ISIS and other Islamist groups for control of territory since 2013.

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