Letter to the editor January 22
Reflecting on the Paris tragedy
Tuesday, Jan. 13 was a very sad day in Israel and the world. In France, they buried three policemen who were killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In Israel, we buried four French men who were brutally murdered for one, and only one, reason: They were Jews.
I was in Tel Aviv, but traveled to Jerusalem in the morning to attend the funeral, to show support for these four grieving families and to stand as one with thousands of other Jews — men, women and children, young and old, French, Israeli, American, religious and secular.
I could not understand the eulogies of the French wives and relatives who spoke, but I could make out bits and pieces of the Israeli leaders’ comments. One of the most moving statements was made by President Rueven Rivlin: “This is not how we wanted to see you come home to the State of Israel.
“We cannot allow it to be that in 2015, 70 years since the end of World War II, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets in Europe,” he continued.
I read in The Jerusalem Post that Valerie Braham, the wife of Phillipe, said, “I know you are all crying with me.” And we were.
We were crying for these four victim-heroes (two of them literally gave their lives to save others). And we were crying for how quickly the situation in France and other places in Europe has deteriorated as places for Jews to live.
Post correspondent Herb Keinon pointed out the world’s double-standard: When murders are committed by Islamic extremists against European journalists, there is “wall-to-wall horror” and no attempt to look for a justification. But when Israelis or Jews are attacked — in Israel or elsewhere — too often a link is made between the Islamic violence and the “occupation.”
The funeral closed with a beautiful rendition of “Hatikvah,” in which the thousands of attendees participated. We all hope and pray that this tragedy will shine some light on this gross double-standard. We all hope and pray that our people never suffer a tragedy like this again. But, I fear that it may only be a matter of weeks or months before we do.
New York, N.Y.