Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy: Facebook)
France’s top Jewish organization on Wednesday barred the bereaved parents of an
Israeli killed in a hit-and-run involving French citizens from attending its
Richard Prasquier, president of Conseil Représentatif des
Institutions Juives de France, the umbrella group for French Jewry better known
by its acronym CRIF, told the parents of the late Lee Zeitouni that he would not
let them into the event that President Nicolas Sarkozy was expected to
“I write to you directly with all the empathy that I have to the
Zeitouni family: You shall not attend the [CRIF] dinner,” Prasquier wrote in a
letter addressed to Lee Zeitouni's father, Itzik.
Prasquier said he suspected the
Zeitounis might use the opportunity to protest against the country’s laws that
prevent the extradition of her suspected killers in front of Sarkozy. He said
changing criminal legislation was not part of the CRIF’s mandate “no matter how
painful the issue at hand.”
Lee Zeitouni, 25, was run over in Tel Aviv by
a car rented by Claude Issac Khayat and Eric Rubin, two French Jews vacationing
in Israel, in the early morning hours of September 16, 2011. The driver fled the
scene without informing authorities, leaving Zeitouni to die. Khayat, Rubin and
their families hastily boarded a flight hours later back to France, which has no
extradition agreement with Israel. Since then, the bereaved family has fought to
bring Khayat and Rubin to be tried in Israel, but the two object saying they
would not get a fair trial.
The Zeitounis have approached French
politicians and personalities including Carla Bruni, the wife of Sarkozy, asking
them to intervene.
Prasquier finished his letter with a stark warning to
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“It is my obligation to prevent you from entering. If you
decide to show up without being invited then I assure you that you shall bear
the responsibility towards France, the French justice system, the French Jewish
community and Israel and the memory of your precious Lee,” he wrote.
group campaigning to extradite Khayat and Rubin to Israel lashed out against
Prasquier, saying his position was immoral.
“This is a surprising,
painful and mean letter sent by the chairman of the organization,” it said. “The
letter sheds light on his personality, morals, principles and conduct.”
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