Tears and anger at Jerusalem funeral for France shooting victims

French attack victims buried in Israel
French attack victims buried in Israel

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French attack victims buried in Israel 03:04

Story highlights

  • Funeral held in Jerusalem for victims of shooting at Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, France
  • Three children died alongside their teacher when a gunman opened fire on Monday
  • French foreign minister, speaker of Israeli parliament among mourners at cemetery
It was a heart-wrenching memorial for victims of the Toulouse killings. The fact that three of them were just young children, shot in cold blood, added to the feelings of loss and despair.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, at the main Givat Shaul cemetery, ambulances delivered the coffins, as thousands came to pay their respects.
"In Toulouse and Jerusalem, in New York and Buenos Aires, Jews are standing together," the speaker of the Israeli parliament, Reuven Rivlin, told the mourners.
"The house of Israel weeps at these murders," he added.
The atmosphere was acutely sad and subdued, with painful moments of intense grief.
One came when the mother of a murdered toddler arrived to bid farewell to her child. Too distraught to walk, she was carried from the ambulance by the crowd.
The teenaged brother of seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego -- the little girl shot at point blank range by the gunman -- captured the distress of the tragedy.
"Miriam, I have a last request, never stop crying and pray to god to give us strength to continue and give strength for our parents to overcome this most terrible time."
And as a sign of how serious the French government is taking this attack, the country's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, also made an address, vowing to protect French Jews from attack.
"Don't have any doubts about our steadfast ability to fight anti Semitism," he told the crowd. "Every time a Jew is cursed, attacked or killed, the whole nation is in the crosshairs and has to react immediately."
Many Israelis, though, may not be convinced by that.
France is often identified here as a place where the Jewish community is vunerable, and there is alarm at what is seen in Israel as a rising tide of anti-Semitism across Europe.
"The Jews of Europe are once again in grave danger," comments one opinion piece on the popular Ynetnews.com website.
The article predicts an upsurge in the number of Jews abandoning Europe for Israel, calling it a "tragic but unavoidable process: the New Europe will be a Jews-free continent."
That may be alarmist, but the dreadful killings in Toulouse, the standoff, and the emotional burials in Jerusalem, have reopened a sensitive debate.