French Jews in Tel Aviv commemorate victims of Paris terror attacks .
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
French Jews in Tel Aviv held a memorial Saturday night for the victims of the terrorist attacks this past week in France, joining hundreds of thousands of their countrymen and their fellow Jews around the world.
A rabbi who addressed the crowd said that “what happened on Friday [in Paris] was something that happened to all of the people of Israel and because of that we are all here. We must all wake up and each of us must see ourselves as though our own brother was hurt on Friday and to use this pain to build.”
Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan addressed the crowd, making an impassioned plea for all Jews capable of immigrating to Israel to do so.
“There’s no choice, at the end of the day, the only place safe for Jews is here in Israel.”
The matter is a controversial one, said Mickael Bizouati, 32, a native of Toulouse who has lived in Israel for two years. He said that he doesn’t want to say they should all immigrate, they aren’t French or France is not their country.
He added though “France is not a place for Jews now.”
Bizouati said the attack on Friday reminded him of the attack on a Jewish school in his hometown in 2012 and that he spent all day Friday checking social networks for news and talking with family back home.
Like Bizouati, Paris native Laura Attali, 26, spoke of the same fear and a feeling that France doesn’t feel the same solidarity for the victims of the kosher market shooting on Friday as they did for the journalists killed in the attack on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.
She was taken aback by a development last weekend that symbolized to many the fear and danger now facing French Jews – the closure of the Great Synagogue of Paris over the Sabbath.
“This hasn’t happened since World War II”, Attali said.
Mourners lit a handful of memorial candles in the courtyard of the building, though they were extinguished minutes later, after the crowd sang “Hatikva” and a light rain began to fall.