Attack At Ozar Hatorah School In Toulouse, France

— by Rabbi Avi Shafran

The murderous attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, France this morning is a tragedy that rightly tears the hearts of Jews and people of good will everywhere. More than a tragedy, though, it is an expression of evil, of the Jew-hatred that masquerades as many things but in its essence remains wickedness alone.

Agudath Israel of America joins in the mourning for our four brothers murdered in cold blood today, a teacher and his two children, and an 8-year old child. And we pray for the wounded 17-year-old’s full and quick recovery.

We also call upon the French authorities to leave no stone unturned in the search for the perpetrators of this repulsive act. Evil left to fester will only spread.

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  1. Publisher says

    We were deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack this morning against the teachers and students of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims, and we stand with a community in grief.  We join the Government of France in condemning this unprovoked and outrageous act of violence in the strongest possible terms.

  2. Publisher says

    B’nai B’rith International condemns today’s heinous shooting outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Three students and one teacher at the Ozar Hatorah School were reportedly killed in the shooting by a man riding a motorcycle. Before fleeing the scene, the shooter reportedly entered the building and fired at other students and teachers. Press reports indicate that the dead were a teacher and his two sons as well as the daughter of the school’s principal.

    B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs called the attack “a despicable act.” He continued: “Violence in any form is reprehensible, but for it to take place at a school is especially horrendous. Our hearts go out to the victims, and we pray for the recovery of those injured. The future of the Jewish community is dependent upon nurturing the Jewish identity of our young people. We are confident that this cowardly act will serve to strengthen the commitment of the French Jewish community toward that goal.”

    Welcoming the statement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the attack was “a national tragedy,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said, “We welcome the immediate response by the French government and President Sarkozy’s visit to Toulouse. We are hopeful that the authorities will make urgent efforts to capture the gunman then prosecute him to the full extent of the law.”

  3. Publisher says

    We stand in shock, sadness, and solidarity with the Jewish community of Toulouse, France. The unprovoked attack that occurred at the Ozar Hatorah school is a tragedy for the families and friends of the victims, but it is tragedy for us as well. We say, Kol Yisrael areivim zeh la-zeh (all Jews are responsible for one another, and we share the pain of our brothers and sisters half a world away.

    The expectation of a school being a safe haven has once again been shattered. This violent act has already taken four lives, a rabbi and his two children and the daughter of the Ozar Hatorah school principal, and the life of a 17-year old boy currently hangs in the balance. No mother should ever have to face the inestimable hardship of losing her husband and children in one instant, nor should parents have to mourn the loss of a child.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and survivors. As we embrace those families, we urgently hope for an end to the violence in Southern France, which has also taken the lives of three French soldiers in the last 10 days. In a world of rich and diverse religious and ethnic traditions, let us lift up our differences and accept the notion that a peaceful coexistence is attainable across the globe.

    As we go through our daily lives, it is often easy to feel as though hatred against Jews has been eliminated; this senseless attack is jarring and an all-too-real reminder that the ugly blight of anti-Semitism still thrives. France is home to an estimated 600,000 Jews, the largest Jewish community in Europe. There have been a number of anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, including the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg with swastikas, an arson attack at the Merkaz Hatorah school in Gagny, and the brutal kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man from Paris.

    We are confident in the commitment shown by the French government in addressing this national tragedy and wait for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. We utter a prayer of healing, a Mi Sheberach, for the survivors and, with our French brothers and sisters, Jewish and otherwise, we pray that one day violence will cease and peace shall be the cry heard throughout all nations.

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