Hundreds Attend Reburial in Jerusalem of French Jew Murdered in Paris
France’s Ambassador to Israel, the Chief Rabbis of France and Israel and Jewish Agency Chairman eulogize Ilan Halimi
Hundreds of people, including family members, dignitaries and Israeli immigrants from France, attended the reburial ceremony in Jerusalem Friday (February 9, 2007) of Ilan Halimi, the 23-year-old French Jew who was abducted and killed in a Paris suburb by a local Muslim gang last year.
Halimi was laid to rest at the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem, re-interred in Israel a year after his burial in France, at the initiative of Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski.
“His whole crime was that he was a Jew,” Bielski said at the eulogy, the body of Halimi covered in a talit before him. “Hatred and anti-Semitism motivated those who abducted and murdered Ilan. Anti-Semitism is not just the problem of the Jewish people: it has to be taken on by leaders, the world over.”
Also eulogizing Halimi were French Ambassador to Israel Jean-Michel Casa, Minister of Absorption Zeev Boim, Israel Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, France’s Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, and Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein.
“The hatred that serves as the basis for violence and for this crime requires the French society to do soul-searching,” said France’s ambassador to Israel Jean-Michel Casa at the ceremony. “We must always be vigilant and never turn the other way when the monster of anti-Semitism threatens to raise its head. In Ilan’s murder, the Republic of France was also attacked and disgraced.”
The idea to rebury Halimi in Israel came to Jewish Agency Chairman Bielski after he met with Hamili’s mother in Paris several months after the murder, and suggested to her that Ilan’s final resting place be in Jerusalem. The bringing of Halimi’s body for burial 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 underscores the unity of the Jewish people.”