Attack in Toulouse
Letter from Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel
Paris, March 19, 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
Like all French people and all Israelis, I was devastated and appalled by the murder of four people, including three children, at Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse this morning.
Given that some of these unfortunate victims also held Israeli nationality, I would like to offer you and all the Israeli people my most sincere and heartfelt condolences.
Rest assured of the French authorities’ utter determination to ensure that the perpetrator of this cowardly, vile act is arrested and sentenced with the all the severity which the seriousness and cruelty of this crime demand.
Visiting the scene of the tragedy in Toulouse this morning, then attending the evening’s remembrance ceremony in a synagogue in Paris, I expressed the solidarity and compassion of the whole French nation and the government’s unshakeable determination not to allow such a crime to go unpunished.
I express my deep sympathy to you in these tragic circumstances.
Statements by the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy
Toulouse, March 19, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today is a day of national tragedy – because children have been murdered in cold blood, because a killer entered a school, a school of the Jewish faith. This tragedy devastates the entire national community. I’ve asked the Minister for National Education for a minute’s silence to be organized tomorrow in all schools, in memory of these martyred children.
The Interior Minister will stay as long as necessary in Toulouse – where reinforcements are going to arrive during the day, in agreement with the authorities, particularly the Mayor – until we know who this killer is and the exact links with the tragedy that hit the military community, with young soldiers already killed in Montauban and Toulouse, one West Indian, two of the Muslim faith. We’re struck by the similarity of how today’s tragedy and those of last week occurred, but we must wait for more detailed evidence from the forensic police to confirm that theory.
In any case, caution is the rule. Jewish schools, Muslim schools in Toulouse and the region will be very closely monitored, places of worship will be very closely monitored and soldiers have received instructions to be cautious.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tragedy. Everything must be done to ensure the killer is arrested and held accountable for his crimes, so there are no more victims. But at the same time, our schools must continue to operate, and our compatriots who want to worship in synagogues, in mosques and in churches must be able to continue doing so. We mustn’t give in to terror.
And of course, our thoughts go out to those shattered families. To the mother who at that moment lost two of her children and her husband, on the same day. To the head teacher who saw his little girl die before his eyes.
Barbarism, savagery and cruelty cannot win. Hatred cannot win. The Republic is much stronger than all that. Much stronger.
So I ask you all, of course, for remembrance, grief, solidarity with the victims, calm and confidence in the institutions of the Republic to find the man who did this. We’re going to find him. A lot of caution and a lot of solidarity.
Thank you to the elected representatives, the Mayor, the regional president and the departmental president. I also want to thank the President of the Consistory, Joël Mergui, and the president of the CRIF [Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France], Richard Prasquier, for accompanying me, and to tell all the authorities of the Jewish communities in Toulouse and the region how close we feel to them.
This murder doesn’t concern only the Jewish community: the whole national community is devastated and stands alongside you. Believe me, you can be sure of this.
And tomorrow, in all the schools in France, we’ll have a minute’s silence in memory of the children of the school. They’re our children: they’re not just your children, they’re ours. And on the Republic’s territory, people don’t murder children like that without being held accountable.
And let the man who did this know that everything, absolutely everything will be done to find him and hold him accountable.
Thank you – and how I would have preferred to come here, Mr Mayor, in other circumstances. These were images we’d seen in other countries and never in our own. We have no choice but to confront them. To confront and overcome.
Statement by Mr Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
Bordeaux, March 19, 2012
I want to underscore my condemnation of what happened in Toulouse and of the deaths of three of our fellow-citizens. The presence of the President and interior minister in that city testify to the government’s resolve to ensure, first, that the author or authors of this crime be arrested and brought to justice, and to guarantee the protection of Jewish establishments, particularly in that region. I am obviously taking the same approach in Bordeaux.
Speech by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (excerpts)
Jerusalem, March 21, 2012
We share your mourning and your sorrow. The despicable murders of Gabriel, Arié, Miriam and Jonathan have devastated the French people. France is in shock. Today the whole national community is thinking of your martyred children and of you, the families torn apart.
The entire political community and the representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths have unanimously condemned this crime.
That’s what I have come to tell you here in Jerusalem, personally and on behalf of the government.
This act of unprecedented violence has struck France to the heart, hitting what is most fragile and dearest to her: families, a father, his young children, your children, our children. That’s why all the children of France – like those in French schools in Israel and all over the world – yesterday observed a minute’s silence in their memory and honour.
Visiting the scene of the tragedy in Toulouse that very morning, President Sarkozy expressed the nation’s solidarity and compassion. Thousands of French people took to the streets in silence to share their revulsion, their sadness, because we’re experiencing a national tragedy that affects each of us in the most profound way.
Today, a stricken France pays tribute to the memory of the victims. But rest assured that France is doing everything possible to protect schools and places of worship so that such a cowardly, vile, indescribable act does not recur. (…)
Do not doubt our determination to combat anti-Semitism wherever it manifests itself. Whenever a Jew is insulted, struck or murdered on the territory of our Republic, the nation itself is targeted and must react. An attack on a Jew in France is not a matter for Jews alone, it’s a matter for the 65 million French people who don’t tolerate it.
Anti-Semitism is contrary to all France’s values. It’s intolerable. (…)./.