Most rockets launched from Gaza into Israel are capable of reaching Israel’s biggest southern cities.
The four victims of this week’s tragic shooting in Toulouse, France were laid to rest in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning. Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his two children Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three; and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego were murdered outside a Jewish school on Monday morning.
Expressing his solidarity over the murders, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe declared that attacks on Jews in France are attacks on all of its 65 million citizens, speaking at the victims’ joint funeral Wednesday.
“France will do everything to ensure nothing like this unbelievable tragedy ever happens again,” the French foreign minister said at the cemetery in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood. “France will not tolerate terror.”
The murders, Juppe added, strike at the heart of France.
The funeral procession began at 9:15 a.m. and the official ceremony began at 10:00 a.m. at Givat Shaul’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem.
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin spoke to the gathered mourners, saying, the State of Israel has the duty to ensure that Jewish life can exist anywhere in the world.
“Anyone looking to justify hate must know that hate is senseless. The murder of the school children in Toulouse was senseless, as was the massacre of infants in Itamar,” Rivin eulogized.
Rivlin went on to say that there is no justification for acts of terrorism against Jews, wherever they are, and labeled those who carry out such acts as “wild animals, who do not distinguish between Jews in Israel or in France, or between Orthodox and secular Jews. They know very well that we are all brothers.”
“The entire nation of Israel mourns the murder and hatred that harmed innocent souls,” Rivlin continued.
The Knesset speaker ended his eulogy by saying, “at the graves of our young children, Aryeh, Gavriel and Miriam, we will repeat: the state of Israel has the obligation to ensure that Jews can live anywhere in the world. That Jews around the world are able to study, protected and safe. Israel will continue to carry its legacy, out of faith, pride and Jewish courage.”
Interior Minister Eli Yishai called on the French government to use its full power and impose the harshest punishment on those responsible for killing four Jews in Toulouse.
“The heart cries out for the holy, pure ones murdered,” Yishai said.
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said “we cry but we will not despair” over the killings.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein was also scheduled to speak at the official ceremony.
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger was expected to address mourners, followed by members of the victims’ families.
Victims’ bodies arrive in Israel
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. Juppe accompanied the bodies.
ZAKA chairman and founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said he had personally ensured that Rabbi Yonatan Sandler — who was not an Israeli citizen — was officially granted the status of an Israeli victim of terror. Official recognition by the National Insurance Institute as a victim of terror meant that Sandler and the three children were flown to Israel and given a burial plot by the state. In addition the family will now receive ongoing financial support as victims of terror.
The ZAKA International Rescue Unit handled all aspects of the flight to Israel of the four bodies. A special delegation from Israel, headed by ZAKA International Rescue Unit commander Mati Goldstein, joined the volunteers from the ZAKA France. The teams worked at the school, clearing the scene and assisting in the forensic identification of the victims.
Tens of ZAKA volunteers were on scene at Ben Gurion airport as the El AL plane carrying the victims touched down. A short memorial service was held at the airport after which the bodies were transferred in ZAKA ambulances to their final resting place in Jerusalem
According to a statement from the French embassy, the French foreign minister 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.
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.”
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