Thousands Attend Jerusalem Funeral of Toulouse Jewish School Shooting Victims

Funeral takes place at HaMenuchot cemetery for Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, aged six and three, and seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego who were killed in the attack on the Ozar Hatorah school.

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Thousands of mourners arrived at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning to attend the funeral of the four victims in the shooting at a Jewish School in Toulouse, southwest France, earlier this week.

In attendance were French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi, as well as deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman.

Mourners stand around the bodies of the victims of Monday's shooting in Toulouse during their joint funeral service in Jerusalem March 21, 2012. Credit: Reuters

Juppe met with President Shimon Peres before the funeral started. “I came to show the French people’s solidarity with the Israeli people, who feel like their children have been murdered,” he said after the meeting.

"I thank you for being sympathetic with us such a hard day," said Peres to Juppe.

"This is a unique expression of the deep relations between France and Israel. Your arrival and the actions of President Sarkozy during these difficult events prove that Israel and France are on the same front in search of peace and all-out war against terrorism,” Peres said.

“You can be confident: France is doing everything and will do everything so that there will be full safety in schools and synagogues, so that a criminal act such as this will never happen again,” Juppe said at the ceremony.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, flanked by France's Education Minister Luc Chatel, speaks with pupils of Francois Couperin secondary school in Paris.
The funeral for victims of the shooting at a Toulouse Jewish school in Jerusalem, March 21, 2012.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin speaking at a funeral for victims of the Toulouse school shooting, March 21, 2012.
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy, flanked by France's Education Minister Luc Chatel, speaks with pupils of Francois Couperin secondary school in Paris.Credit: AFP
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The funeral for victims of the shooting at a Toulouse Jewish school in Jerusalem, March 21, 2012. Credit: Shuki Lerer
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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin speaking at a funeral for victims of the Toulouse school shooting, March 21, 2012. Credit: Shuki Lerer
Toulouse


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Juppe said at the end of his eulogy, "May their souls be bound in the bond of life."

Parliament speaker Reuben Rivlin said in his eulogy at the that the attack was inspired by "wild animals with hatred in their hearts."

Interior Minister Yishai said in his eulogy, “Our hearts are with the Jews of France and with the Ozar Hatorah institutions that took such a hard and painful blow. The pain is unimaginable, God is testing us.”

He also called on the French government to do everything to ensure the safety of French Jews.

Before the funeral began, the families of the four victims, Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, aged six and three, and seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego, gathered around the coffins carrying the bodies of the victims, which arrived in Israel on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the coffins were taken to Toulouse airport and placed aboard a French Air Force aircraft made available to the family by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A memorial service was carried out at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, with President Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon.

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