In wake of fatal shooting near Jewish school in Toulouse, France’s Jews express concern of possible new anti-Semitic trend
The Jewish community in France expressed shock and horror over Monday’s shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and some may fear the incident is a prelude of a new wave of anti-Semitic terror.
An unknown assailant opened fire on the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse around 8 am Monday, killing at least four people and injuring five.
French authorities have launched a manhunt for the shooter, who fled the scene.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Interior Minister Claude Gueant are said to be en route to Toulouse.
“I saw two people dead in front of the school, an adult and a child … Inside, it was a vision of horror, the bodies of two small children,” a distraught father whose child attends the school told RTL radio.
“I did not find my son, apparently he fled when he saw what happened. How can they attack something as sacred as a school, attack children only sixty centimeters tall?”
Binyamin Tuati, the head of the French branch of the Bnei Akiva movement, told Ynet that the Jewish community in Paris was worried the attack could be an indicator of a larger trend.
“It’s not hysterical and parents haven’t pulled their kids out of school, but we are worried that another wave of terror is upon us,” he said.
Dr. David Shapiro, an expert on antisemitism in France, said: “It wouldn’t be surprising if the background is indeed anti-Semitic.
“The wave that began in October 2000 continues… Attacks on Jews have been taking place for centuries, and it was only a matter of time before the situation got worse.”
Meanwhile. French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot told Ynet that he was “shocked and horrified to learn of this barbaric act in Toulouse. We all want to express our solidarity with the Jewish community in Toulouse. This issues is taken to heart at the gravest levels.
“President Sarkozy and Ministry Gueant are flying to Toulouse and they will meet with the Jewish community leader.
“We of course want to express our empathy to the victims and assure our commitment to the safety of the Jewish community in France. We will find the man behind this barbaric act.”
The Conference of European Rabbis issued a statement saying the shooting was was a “barbaric event,” adding that the Jewish community will not be threatened.
France has Europe’s largest Jewish community, estimated at up to 700,000 people.
By: Aviel Magnezi