Jewish Victims of French Shooting Buried in Israel

Jewish burialA rabbi and three children gunned down at a
Jewish school in France were buried Wednesday in a Jerusalem cemetery,
with a bereaved mother and wife begging her slain loved ones to “come
back home.”


The four were killed
Monday in the French city of Toulouse when a man on a motorcycle opened
fire with two handguns outside the school. Hundreds of French police
descended on the suspect’s hideout in Toulouse on Wednesday, but by
midday still hadn’t drawn him out after hours of gunbattles and
negotiations.

The bodies of Rabbi Jonathan
Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and 8-year-old Myriam
Monsenego were flown to Israel early Wednesday. The families had asked
for burial in Israel; the children held dual Israeli-French citizenship
and the rabbi had lived in Israel for years.

At
the funeral ceremony, Myriam’s eldest brother, Avishai, in his 20s,
wailed and called to God to give his parents the strength “to endure the
worst trial that can be endured.”

In the name of the four remaining Monsenego children, he urged his father and mother to “keep going, keep going, keep going.”

Hundreds
of mourners, many of them sobbing, thronged around the bodies laid out
on stretchers as eulogies were delivered. The slain members of the
Sandler family had been wrapped in white prayer shawls while Myriam had
been draped in black velvet.

Mourners then
walked to the burial grounds. Men carried the bodies on stretchers and
buried them, while women watched from behind a nearby fence.

Later,
Eva Sandler, the widow of the slain rabbi, walked to the freshly
covered graves of her sons and husband and laid her hands on them. “Come
back home,” she cried out in French.

Israeli media reported that Eva Sandler is pregnant and had arrived in Israel with her remaining child, a toddler.

Among
the mourners were grieving relatives who arrived from France, French
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and leaders of the French Jewish community.

In
his eulogy, Israeli parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin said the Jewish
people “once again find themselves facing beasts … driven out their
minds by hatred.”

Juppe said “an attack on a Jew in France is not only an issue for French Jews. … anti-Semitism is against all French values.”

The school attack was the bloodiest France has ever known and the bloodiest assault on Jewish targets there in decades.

Meanwhile,
hundreds of French police on Wednesday surrounded the Toulouse hideout
of a man suspected in the school shooting and two earlier attacks that
killed three French paratroops. A gunbattle erupted and police were
trying to negotiate the man’s surrender.

French
Interior Minister Claude Gueant described the suspect as a 24-year-old
French national who claims connections to al-Qaida and “wants to take
revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the deadly shooting attack and condemned the link to Palestinian children.

“It’s
time for criminals to stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their
terrorist actions,” Fayyad said in a statement. “The children of
Palestine want nothing but dignified lives for themselves and for all
the children in the world.”

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