JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Three children and a rabbi shot dead at a Jewish school in France were buried in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the victims of what an Israeli politician said were murders inspired by “wild animals made crazy by their hatred” of Jews.
The bodies of the 30-year-old rabbi, his two young children and a school friend were laid to rest in brilliant sunshine at a hilltop cemetery at the entrance to the holy city after being flown out from France where they were killed on Monday.
“Your children are being buried here in the land of Israel, but their memories shall live on and be honoured in the land of France, their homeland as well,” said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who accompanied the bodies on the flight.
While hundreds of mourners congregated at the Givat Shaul cemetery in west Jerusalem, a different drama was taking place in France - a siege of a Toulouse apartment where the man suspected of Monday’s killings was holed up.
The suspect is a French citizen of Algerian origin who killed in the name of al Qaeda in revenge for French military involvement abroad, France’s interior minister said.
“France won’t tolerate terrorism.” Juppe, wearing a black skullcap, said in his eulogy.
“We are determined to fight every expression of anti-Semitism. Each time a Jew is attacked, cursed or killed on the republic’s territory, it is the entire French nation that is at stake and must react.”
Israel’s parliament speaker, Reuben Rivlin, said at the funeral “the entire house of Israel weeps” over the killings at the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school.
“The Jewish people face wild and insatiable animals, wild animals made crazy by their hatred,” he said.
Wrapped in shrouds in accordance with Orthodox tradition, the bodies of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his children Gabriel, 3, and Arieh, 6, and the daughter of the school’s principal, 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, were lowered into the ground.
Juppe ended his eulogy with a brief prayer in Hebrew: “May their souls and memories be blessed.”
Sandler had attended a Jewish seminary down the road from the cemetery in the western part of Jerusalem.
Israeli media have been following the events in Toulouse closely and radio stations broadcast live coverage of the funeral. France’s 600,000-strong Jewish community is Europe’s largest.
Additional reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Robin Pomeroy