Supermarket victims buried in Jerusalem

January 13, 2015 Agencies
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The four slain victims of last week’s kosher supermarket siege in Paris have been buried in Jerusalem…and President Rivlin declared “Jewish blood is not worthless”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers his eulogy. The bodies of the four victims lay eachenshrouded in a tallit in front of him

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers his eulogy. The bodies of the four victims lay each enshrouded in a tallit in front of him     Photo: Chaim Zach


President Rivlin delivers the eulogy

President Rivlin delivers the eulogy


Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin delivered eulogies at the Givat Shaul cemetery where the victims of the Hyper Cacher Supermarket were laid to rest..

The Prime Minister said: “We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.

Francois-Michel Saada

Francois-Michel Saada

Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.

I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people.

They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.
I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.

Yohav Atab

Yohav Atab

And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.

Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.

Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.

Yohan Cohen

Yohan Cohen

Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.

May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Delivering his eulogy, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said: “Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital.  We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.

At moments such as these, I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation.

Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day.

“My father is a hero”, wept Rafael, your son. “He was murdered, simply because he was a Jew.”  What can we say to your dear wife Philippe?  What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?

Francois-Michel, the apartment that you bought here in Israel, was ready for your arrival.  You so wanted to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), to live here with us. But you will never now be able to affix a mezuzah upon the doorpost of your home in Israel.  “What man is there, who has built a new house and has not yet inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle,” as it is written in the Torah. But for you, the war came to you, and the murderer’s hand destroyed everything.

Philippe Braham

Philippe Braham

Yoav, you were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem, for the first time.  You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.

Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender.  You fought with the murderer, to save the life a three-year old boy.  You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just twenty years old, and already a hero.

Dear families, people of Israel.  Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada, were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish.  The murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre. This was pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories.  This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life.  In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv.  In Brussels, and in Mumbai.  In the streets, and in the synagogues.  In the schools, and in the local market.  In the train stations, and in the museums.

The four victims  Photo: Kobo Gideon

The four victims Photo: Kobo Gideon

Like many, I watched the millions who marched in the streets of France.  It was a demonstration of deep solidarity which warmed my heart.  While the last weeks and months have proven, that terror does not discriminate between blood, we cannot escape the fact that this terrorism, explicitly targets the Jewish people. Those wearing tzitzit (the tasseled four-cornered garment), those wearing kippot (skullcaps), those eating kosher food, praying in synagogues, ‘students of the Torah’.

It would be dangerous to deny that we are talking about antisemitism, whether old or new.  Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe; in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels, or in Burgas.

Their final resting place          Photo:  Amos Ben Gershom

Their final resting place Photo: Amos Ben Gershom

We cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, seventy years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit. It cannot be allowed, that we should see in the news, frequent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, of Jews being beaten, and of synagogues and communities under attack.  It is no longer possible to ignore or remain ambiguous, or to act weakly or with leniency against the rabid antisemitic incitement.  Ignorance and violence will not simply go away on their own.

My brothers and sisters, members of the French Jewish community, we have in recent years witnessed a strengthening and a tightening of the vibrant and strong connection between the Jewish community of France, and the State and citizens of Israel. This strong and close bond finds expression in times of joy and grief, in good times and in bad.

We stood here together, and accompanied on their final journey, Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, and his infant children, Gavriel and Ariyeh.  And just last summer, the people of Israel stood as one, as they laid to rest Jordan Ben-Simon, a ‘lone soldier’ from France.  I met his parents, and his sisters.  Special people, a family committed to a love for Israel, Jewish tradition, and a love for the State of Israel.


Mourners    Photo: Haim Zach

At these difficult times, I have learned how much we truly are one people.  I understand how important it is that we stay together, close together, regardless of geographical distance. And today too, we are brothers, members of one family, with heads bowed, with tears of sorrow.  A bond which cannot be unraveled by time or distance. A bond of spirit and blood.

Much has been said since the murders, on the issue of the immigration to Israel of French Jewry.  My dear brothers and sisters, Jewish citizens of France, you are welcome.  Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion.

However, returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress,


Mourners    Photo: Kobo Gideon

out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear. Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you.  The Land of Israel is the land of choice.  We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.

Dear families, aside the graves of your loved ones, we promise that we will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be.  We will continue to fight for your right to open up proudly the synagogues, to educate your children in the study of Torah, a love for Israel, and a responsibility to the world around them.

Jewish blood is not worthless.  Human blood is not worthless.  The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem.  May they be of blessed memory.”

French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development and Energy, Segolene Royal commented that “I want to give my condolences on behalf of the French Republic, which shares your grief…the victims were murdered for being Jewish, which is outrageous.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in France and that is the message carried by the millions of French people who marched on Sunday.”

Royal, announced in her eulogy that the four victims will receive a posthumous French honor, “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur ” (Legion of Honor), which is the highest decorative honor bestowed in France.

Family members and friends

Family members and friends  “I am dead because I am Jewish”   Photo: Kobo Gideon

Family members and friends of the victims were flown from Paris to Israel to attend the funerals in Jerusalem.


One Response to “Supermarket victims buried in Jerusalem”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    One couldn’t help but being moved to tears viewing the services at different intervals, the intermingling of the French and Israels flags and national anthems.
    How many times has that occurred throughout history?
    My deepest condolences to the families and to the nation.

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