An African Muslim saved 7 Jewish lives from anti-Semitic murder: Should Israel officially honor him

Lassana Bathily is the 24-year-old Malian economic migrant Muslim man who found employment at the Hyper Cache (kosher grocery store) in Paris, and heroically saved the lives of 7 people when the store came under siege from a lone anti-Semitic terrorist gunman, on January 15, 2015. Lassana, widely coined as a hero, shepherded the customers to the safety of the freezer before switching it and the light off, and returning to the shop floor before popping out to assist the police in their attempts to defeat the gunman.

While Jewish lives were lost that day, 7 were saved.  But for Lassana's heroic actions, the 7 lives he saved would also have been lost.  He reportedly said "We are brothers, it's not a question of Jews, of Christians or of Muslims, we are all in the same boat, we have to help each other to get out of this crisis". However, he was arrested and handcuffed by the French Gendarmerie and held for 90 minutes immediately following the siege, on the presumption that he was a co-conspirator of the gunman.  Lassana Bathily has since officially been awarded French citizenship, after 400,000 citizens petitioned the French government to officially recognise the bravery of his actions.

So what next for Lassana Bathily, and what next for the State of Israel and Jewish and Islamic international relations?  Is Lassana someone to make a role model out of, as an example of honourable conduct to citizens of all faiths, colours and creeds?  Can a black African Muslim be recognised as a righteous gentile by the State of Israel?  We must remember that when other gentiles risked their lives and saved Jews from the murderous Nazis, the actions of those gentiles were officially recognised by the State of Israel, each of whom were officially honoured as 'Righteous Gentile' for risking their lives in order to save Jewish lives from anti-Semites.  If not a ‘Righteous Gentile’ honour for Lassana Bathily, then why not an alternative official honour..?
Although Benjamin Netanyahu has verbally thanked Lassana Bathily for his bravery in saving the lives of the 7 Jews, he has yet to announce publicly whether he will officially honour Lassana in anyway, much less as a 'Righteous Gentile', and if not then why not, and if so, when this will happen.  Clearly, Lassana Bathily represents everything that is positive about humanity today.  He is a beacon of light and a ray of hope to all the nations, whose actions in Paris on 15 January 2015 showed us that we must not condemn people to death because of their religion, race, ethnicity, or their colour, to the contrary, Lassana upheld the principle of the human right to life and showed us that we must judge people by their attitude as expressed through their actions. 

More importantly even than that, political leaders must show positive leadership by displaying moral and intellectual integrity, and by rewarding those citizens whose actions save lives, promote faith in religion and humanity and set the right example to citizens globally.  If politicians won’t lead the way, then we as a public must ensure our voice is heard at all levels of the political arena.  We must ensure that Benjamin Netenyahu and the State of Israel officially honour Lassana Bathily for bravely and courageously saving 7 Jewish lives at the Parisian Hyper Cache, on 15 January 2015.

Please add your name to the petition to have Lassana Bathily officially honoured by Benjamin Netenyahu and the State of Israel.  Go to, or click the link here

Find the Lassana Bathily Community Facebook page here:

Author:  Ella Bennett, London UK, Post-graduate of the London School of Economics & Political Science.

 All rights reserved.