Thousands Attend Jerusalem Burial of Toulouse Victims

The bodies of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, two of his sons and the daughter of the Ozar Hatorah high school await burial in Jerusalem two days after a suspected Al Qaeda-trained gunman opened fire outside the Toulouse, France, educational institution. (Photo: ZAKA Israel) The bodies of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, two of his sons and the daughter of the Ozar Hatorah high school await burial in Jerusalem two days after a suspected Al Qaeda-trained gunman opened fire outside the Toulouse, France, educational institution. (Photo: ZAKA Israel)

By Joshua Runyan

Mar 21, 2012 12:00 PM

 

 

Thousands of people packed a Jerusalem cemetery to bid farewell to the victims of Monday’s shooting outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

Both of Israel’s chief rabbis joined a rabbinical delegation from Toulouse, community rabbis and Torah scholars from across Israel, Israeli Interior Minister Yudi Edelstein, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and other officials at the Wednesday morning funeral, which saw sobbing throngs of individuals of all walks of life come to share in the grief of the family members of 30-year-old Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3, and seven-year-old Miriam Monsenego, daughter of Ozar Hatorah high school principal Rabbi Yaakov Monsenego.

Also paying his respects was Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, whose grandson Moshe Holtzberg was orphaned when a gunman murdered Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai directors Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and four of their guests three years ago.

Earlier in the day, the bodies of the Toulouse victims arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport aboard an El Al flight, and were carried into Jerusalem by ZAKA ambulances.

Back in France, investigators concluded that the man responsible for the attack was an Al Qaeda-trained operative also behind the shootings of three French paratroopers in and around Toulouse. As 24-year-old suspected gunman Mohammed Merah’s victims were buried, police forces found themselves in a standoff outside his Toulouse apartment.

At the funeral, speeches focused on the tragedy of yet another Jewish community falling victim to the machinations of Islamist terrorists.


Thousandsof people attended the burial. (Photo: ZAKA Israel)

Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar spoke in epic terms, categorizing the hatred shown to Jews as the same as that shown by the biblical Esau to Jacob. The struggle, however, would not last forever, he said, as G‑d would “avenge the spilled blood” of those struck down by terrorists.

Monsenego’s older brother, Avishai implored the Almighty to give his parents the strength to “endure the worst trial that can be endured,” reported The Associated Press.

In his remarks, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin bemoaned the fact that the Jewish people “once again find themselves facing wild animals with hatred in their hearts.”

Juppe, meanwhile, said that his nation was doing everything it could to ensure “safety in our schools and synagogues, so that a criminal act such as this will never happen again.

At the end of the ceremony, Sandler’s widow Eva Sandler approached the graves of her husband and children. Wailing in French, she cried out three words: “Come back home.”