Israel mourns as victims of French attack buried


Thousands of weeping mourners crowded into a Jerusalem cemetery on Wednesday for the funerals of three French-Israeli children and a teacher killed in a shooting spree at a Jewish school in France.
Among the 2,000 or so people gathered at the sprawling Givat Shaul cemetery on the western outskirts of Jerusalem were French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and some 50 relatives and family friends, who landed in Israel shortly after dawn.
Four coffins containing the bodies of 30-year-old teacher Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, and seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego, were flown from Toulouse to Paris on Tuesday before continuing to Israel, where the two bereaved families had asked that their loved ones be buried.
At the cemetery, mourners gathered around the four bodies — those of the teacher and his two sons wrapped in white prayer shawls, while the girl’s body was wrapped in a blue shroud embroidered with gold.
All four were shot dead on Monday morning when a gunman, believed to be an Islamic extremist, opened fire on parents and children at Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, in what was the third such shooting in the area in eight days.
As a rabbi intoned verses from the Book of Psalms, Myriam’s distraught parents were inconsolable, standing before her shrouded body. Eva Sandler wept over her dead husband and two young sons.
Both families were supported by friends and relatives, an AFP correspondent said.
“He who looks for a justification for hatred, needs to know that there is no explanation for hatred,” parliamentary speaker Reuven Rivlin said in a brief address to the mourners. “There is no explanation for the murder of many pupils in Toulouse,” he said. “There is not, and there will never be any explanation for acts of terror against Jews wherever such things happen.”
Speaking shortly before the funerals, Juppe said the Toulouse attack had bound Israel and France together.
“In some ways, it was the blood of our two countries that flowed on Monday at the Ozar Hatorah school,” he told reporters after meeting Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying he had come “to share in the grief of the Monsonego and Sandler families.”