Home inContext Toulouse Reminds of Dangers to Jewish Communities

Toulouse Reminds of Dangers to Jewish Communities

Reut Cohen

The shooting in Toulouse, France is a grim reminder that whether they live in Algiers or Toulouse, Jews have been and will always be a target for extremists.

Last week I visited the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles to renew a passport. The security was tight — I had to leave my cell phone and purse in the car, take off my shoes, and answer a dozen questions. For someone as Americanized and lucky as myself, the experience, which is repeated every few years, is always a bit surprising. It’s an inconvenience, but a necessary one as we are constantly reminded by worldwide violence perpetrated against Jewry.

Toulouse victims from left: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons Gabriel and Aryeh, and Myriam Monsonego. (Photo: The Telegraph)

From Los Angeles to Seattle, violence carried out against Jews is frighteningly common.

On Monday we were reminded, once again, that Jews are an easy target. A gunman outside of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France viciously murdered four innocent people in cold blood. Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, Gabriel, 3, and Aryeh, 6, were slaughtered. Another victim, 7-year-old Myriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school’s principal, Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, died in her father’s arms after being shot execution-style.

A grisly report from the Daily Telegraph describes a little girl cornering from a monster:

Eight-year-old Myriam Monsonego clutched her satchel as the killer chased her through the school gates and into the courtyard. He pulled her towards him by her hair and raised a gun to shoot her.

The video footage appears to show that, at that moment, his gun jammed.

But determined to carry out his killing spree, he kept hold of the girl, changed weapons from what police identified as a 9-mm pistol to a .45 calibre weapon, and delivered a shot to her temple at point blank range.

Another victim, a 17-year-old boy, remains in critical condition. Although much of the crime was captured on CCTV cameras, the shooter apparently filmed the attack. According to Claude Gueant, France’s Interior Minister, “the killer had a camera strapped to his chest that would allow him to film and view the footage on a computer.” The same killer, who may be linked to al-Qaeda, is also suspected of gunning down three French soldiers.

Just four days prior to the shooting outside the Jewish school, two French soldiers of North African descent were shot dead in Montauban — a town about 28 miles north of Toulouse. The soldiers were Corporal Abel Chennouf, 25, and Private First Class Mohammed Legouade, 23 — both from the 17th Parachute Engineering Regiment. In an earlier attack, the suspect gunned down another French soldier, Paratrooper Imad Ibn Ziaten, in Toulouse. Ibn Ziaten is also of North African origin.

If the killer is indeed linked to the Islamist group, the targeted killings of the soldiers is vengeance for an imagined act of betrayal. Arab or Muslim troops in Western armies are targets for Islamic terrorists as they are considered to be traitors.

All of the crimes are horrific. However, the attack on Toulouse’s Jewish community, largely made up of Jews of North African descent much like the soldiers, is not surprising and illustrates the urgent need for strict security at all Jewish facilities wherever they may be.

Reut Cohen is a JPC contributor and author of the blog www.reutrcohen.com.