French intervention police.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tunis Chief Rabbi Benjamin Hattab claimed Monday that the five hours it took French police to raid the kosher supermarket could have cost his son Yoav, 21, his life.
In an interview he gave to Channel 20, he said that he had expressed his frustration personally to French President Francois Hollande.
“I told him I was not happy about this. Why didn’t they go in sooner, Maybe my son would be alive and they could have saved him,” said Hattab.
Yoav Hattab, along with the other three victims Yohan Cohen, 22, Philippe Braham, 40 and François-Michel Saada, 60, are set to be buried in Jerusalem in a state funeral, attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, at the Har Hamenuhot cemetery around noon.
According to his father, Hattab had gone to buy a bottle of wine to give as a gift to his hosts for Friday night dinner.
Yoav, who dreamed of making aliya, had just returned to France from a Taglit-Birthright trip the week before.
The moment he heard of the attack, Hattab said he worried about his son. When Yoav failed to answer his phone the rabbi began calling those who knew him and confirmed that he was in the market. Then he heard one of the hostages was critically wounded, and knew that it was his son.
Hattab said that Yoav hid in a refrigerator but came out when the terrorist warned that he would kill the hostages that he held. Yoav is alleged to have made a grab for an unguarded gun, with the intention of killing the terrorist. The gun failed to go off, however, and the terrorist fired at Yoav, Hattab said.
Yoav’s body along with the other three victims was due to arrive in Israel
on a predawn flight from France on Tuesday.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef will open the funeral by reading from the Book of Psalms.
The victims’ relatives will then recite kaddish, light four memorial candles and deliver personal eulogies.
Rivlin, Netanyahu and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog are then set to speak.
They will be followed by a eulogy from France’s Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Minister Ségolène Royal.