A Nation Comes Together As One Family In Grief

On Wednesday morning, the bodies of the four people killed in the shootings at a Jewish School in Toulouse, France, arrived in Jerusalem for burial, and the nation came together as one family in grief. The citizens of Israel have followed the events in France this week with the belief that they are mourning their own, and there were many who seemingly dreaded and awaited this moment. Speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday slammed the UN Human Rights Council, saying: “I haven’t heard any condemnation from the UN, but one of its bodies, the human rights council, invited a representative of Hamas who condemned the US for killing [Osama] bin Laden and kills Jewish men, women, and children. This is who the United Nations Rights Council invites today. I have one thing to say to the United Nations Human Rights Council: What do you have to do with human rights? You should be ashamed of yourself!” These strong words resounded with Israelis and shook others the world over, as many were forced to look at the disturbing picture of Monday’s events.
Private funding for security at the Toulhouse School had recently been cut due to budget concerns, and volunteer guards are now appearing at Jewish Institutions and Synagogue’s worldwide, because in a supremely Israeli mode of thinking, many believe that “one attack will beget another” and that this was simply another reminder that our guard cannot be let down. Israelis always seem to be awaiting the next catastrophe, and among the citizens this week, the attacks in France seemed less a surprise, and more of a morbidly anticipated event.
Israelis travel often, and it is sometimes remarked in muted tones, that those are the times at which they can relax, moderately comfortable in the knowledge that a terrorist attack is unlikely, and they do not need to be on guard in crowded public places. Time spent outside of the country is a vacation in several aspects, and the Sandler Family, who left Israel in July for the Toulhouse School in France, undoubtedly imagined just such a year. Now, not 8 months later, Eva Sandler will return to Israel a widow, nearly 9 months pregnant with their next child, accompanied by a two year old daughter, and with the sobering purpose of burying her husband and two young sons, Aryeh and Gabriel.
French Police have now surrounded their suspect, and he is expected to turn himself in Wednesday Afternoon. The hope among some Israelis at this point, is that the scope of the suspect’s victims might lead to some sense of solidarity. The shooter claims to be a member of Al Quaida, and in addition to the School Shootings on Monday, is earlier suspected of killing 3 Muslim soldiers with the same weapon. The hope is that this wave of senseless violence perpetrated by a single person will at the very least have the effect of bringing people together, and in so doing, decrease the likelihood that it will happen yet again in the future.