Bodies of French shooting victims land in Israel 370.
(photo credit: Gideon Markovitz)
The funerals for the four victims of the Toulouse Jewish school shooting was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The funeral procession began at 9:15 a.m. and the official ceremony was to take place at 10:00 a.m. at Givat Shaul's Har Hamenuchot cemetery.
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein were all scheduled to speak at the official ceremony.
Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger were also expected to address mourners, followed by members of the victims' families.
A French military plane carrying the bodies
of the four victims, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his two children Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three; and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego, arrived in Israel early Wednesday morning. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accompanied the bodies and was expected to attend the funerals.
According to a statement from the French embassy, Juppe came to represent the French government at the funerals, and to express the French people’s feeling of solidarity with the victims’ families and the Jewish community.
Diplomatic sources said details of the visit were arranged hurriedly on Tuesday.
National Insurance Institute director-general Esther Dominisini announced Tuesday that she had resolved the controversy of funding the burial.
The NII had initially opposed funding the elder Sandler’s burial due to bureaucratic regulations regarding citizenship.
Although Sandler was not an Israeli citizen, his two murdered children were citizens, as are his wife and surviving child.
Juppe was greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon who thanked the French foreign minister on behalf of the Israeli government for France's cooperation in the events following the attack. Juppe was expected to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his brief stay.
Sarkozy sent a letter on Monday to Netanyahu expressing his “sincerest condolences
” over the murders.
“Like all the citizens of France and all the citizens of Israel, I was shocked and outraged when I was informed this morning of the murder of four people, among them three children, at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse,” he wrote.
Noting that some of the victims were also Israeli citizens, the president said he was writing “to impart to you and the entire nation of Israel my sincerest condolences.”Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
Jerusalem Post religious affairs reporter Jeremy
Sharon will be tweeting live from the ceremony