ilan halimi photo 298.
(photo credit: AP)
The body of Ilan Halimi, the 23-year-old Parisian Jew who was held hostage, tortured, and eventually killed by a Muslim gang in Paris a year ago, was re-interred in Jerusalem on Friday.
Friends and family stood among French and Israeli dignitaries to bid a final farewell to Halimi, whose murder reminded the world of the brutality that can be sparked by anti-Semitism.
"His captors ransomed him because he was Jewish, and for them that meant he was rich. These stereotypes are the worst kind of crimes," Pierre Besnainou, President of the European Jewish Congress, told The Jerusalem Post.
"It's time for someone to stand up and say 'J'accuse.' It is up to the rabbis and the community to ensure that this does not happen to future families. Ilan Halimi is a hero," said Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Halimi was reburied in Jerusalem at the request of his parents. The Jewish Agency organized and financed the proceedings.
"What was his crime?" Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski, who spoke at the ceremony, asked. "He was Jewish, so they killed him. Anti-Semitism is not a French problem, but a world problem. [Ilan] reminded us that we need to fight it."
France's Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk highlighted the religious and symbolic importance of being buried there.
"We don't come to this city to die, but to relive. Jerusalem is the place of a greater life, and when the time comes for us to arise, Ilan will be among the first."
Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar stressed the religious significance of the circumstances of Ilan's death. "Anyone who dies for the Jewish ideal, dies in kiddush hashem. We will get a form of justice on earth, but he will receive a greater form of justice in heaven."
France's ambassador to Israel, Jean-Michel Casa, said that anti-Semitism was a force that all of France must come together to defeat.
Casa said that France would do everything in its power to see that justice was served. "The murderers of Ilan Halimi have been arrested and France will make sure that they pay for their sins," Casa said.
Ilan Halimi's reburial in Jerusalem "is very important symbolically" an official from the Jewish Agency told the Post. "It symbolizes...the role of Israel as the protector of world Judaism."