JERUSALEM — Thousands of Israelis attended the joint funeral for four Jewish men killed Friday (Jan. 9) by an Islamic extremist at a kosher supermarket in Paris as part of a hostage standoff after the attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The funerals took place in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attending.
The families of the four men, who were not Israeli citizens, asked that they be buried in Israel rather than France.
Netanyahu took the opportunity to invite all French Jews to consider immigrating to Israel.
The killings of the four men occurred at a time when anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents are on the rise across Europe. In 2014, an Israeli couple was among those killed in an attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Two years earlier, four Jews, including three children, were killed during an attack on a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse.
In addition, Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated and several people wearing identifiably Jewish clothing have been physically attacked in France and elsewhere.
Speaking to the mourners, Rivlin said the world “cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, 70 years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe” wearing Jewish ritual items such as yarmulkes.
At the funeral, French Minister Segolene Royal said “each hit suffered by a Jew is a hit suffered by the French people. France boasts the first Jewish community in Europe. This is a point of pride. … It is our duty to protect the place of the (Jewish) community in our country.”
A moment later, Royal posthumously granted the terror victims — Philippe Braham, Francois-Michel Saada, Yohan Cohen and Yoav Hattab — France’s Order of the Legion of Honor.
— by Michele Chabin