Ilan Halimi to be reburied in Jerusalem

Halimi, a French Jew, was tortured and murdered by a French-Muslim gang.

Halimi killer 298 (photo credit: AP)
Halimi killer 298
(photo credit: AP)
A French Jew murdered by a Muslim gang in a suburb of Paris last year will be reburied in Jerusalem on Friday, the Jewish Agency announced Wednesday. Ilan Halimi's body will be flown to Israel on an El Al flight Thursday, and interred at Jerusalem's Givat Shaul Cemetery on Friday in a special memorial ceremony. The Jerusalem burial, which will take place on the one-year anniversary of Halimi's funeral in France according to the Hebrew calendar, was the brainchild of Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski, with the re-interment process underwritten and arranged by the quasi-governmental organization. "As leaders in the struggle against anti-Semitism around the world, we felt committed to extend this Jewish act of kindness, not only to do justice to Ilan and his family, but also as an expression of the commitment never to tire in our struggle against anti-Semitism, to raise our voices in every international forum, to eradicate the manifestations of hatred and racism seen today," Bielski said. Halimi, 23, went missing in Paris last January. After being held captive for more than three weeks, authorities found Halimi naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris on February 13. He died on the way to the hospital, having bled to death from stab wounds to his neck. Halimi's abductors, a French-Muslim gang from a Paris suburb, had tortured and eventually killed him, while demanding ransom from his family and the Jewish community. Halimi's torture and subsequent murder sent shock waves throughout France and especially its half-million Jewish community, and climaxed a series of increasingly virulent anti-Semitic attacks in France. The Jerusalem ceremony, which will take place at 11:30 a.m., will be attended by Halimi's mother and two sisters, Israel Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, France's Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, French Ambassador to Israel Jean-Michel Casa and President of the European Jewish Congress Pierre Besnainou, as well as leaders of the Jewish community in France and senior Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization officials. The reburial in Jerusalem represents "the closing of a circle from a Zionist perspective," Bielski said. The decision of the Halimi family to link their fate with the State of Israel, given the especially tragic circumstances of Ilan's death, underscores the unity of the Jewish people, he concluded.