The four French Jews who were killed in a terror attack at a Paris kosher supermarket last week were buried in Jerusalem Tuesday in a ceremony attended by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal.
They will be laid to rest in a joint funeral at the sprawling Givat Shaul cemetery on the city's western outskirts at 10am GMT.
The bodies of the victims arrived in Jerusalem Tuesday morning, just hours ahead of the funeral, which is expected to draw thousands of people.
In a statement from Paris on Sunday, where Netanyahu was taking part in a French unity march to protest militant Islamism, the prime minister said he had agreed to a request from the families that the victims be buried in Jerusalem.
The four were slain in a tense hostage standoff on Friday at a kosher supermarket on the eastern edge of Paris that began shortly before the start of the Jewish sabbath. They were among 17 people who died in a wave of terror attacks carried out last week by militants claiming allegiance to al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group extremist groups.
The killings of Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, Francois-Michel Saada and Phillipe Braham shocked France’s 500,000 strong Jewish community - the largest in Europe - and prompted calls from Netanyahu for Jews throughout the continent to immigrate to Israel to insure their safety amid a rising wave of anti-Semitism.
"To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place towards which you pray, the state of Israel is your home," he said in remarks that were not well received in Paris.
A sad reminder of the Toulouse shootings
For many, the supermarket attack brought back memories of another deadly shooting in the southern French city of Toulouse in March 2012 when Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three young children and a teacher at a Jewish school.
All four have been buried in the same Jerusalem cemetery where the victims from the latest shooting will also be laid to rest.
“This is a sad reminder of the events that took place back in 2012,” FRANCE 24’s Gallagher Fennwick said from Jerusalem, referring to the Toulouse shootings.
“A big, big crowd is expected in what may turn out into the thousands (on this) very emotional day.”
Aside from Netanyahu, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader Isaac Herzog will also take part along with other Israeli ministers and officials.
Members of Israel's French-speaking community, along with France’s Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, are also due to attend.
Last year, France topped the immigration list to Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, a nonprofit group that works closely with the government and acts as a link between Jews around the world. Nearly 7,000 new immigrants came in 2014, double the number from the previous year.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2015-01-13