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Some 200 people came together under heavy guard at a Paris synagogue to remember the victims of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, while thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv to show support for France.
In Paris, chief rabbis, leaders of French Jewry and Israel’s ambassador to France were among those who gathered at the Synagogue de la Victoire on Nov. 15.
“Our people, who have been tested more than others, know the healing power of solidarity and unity in the face of the pain of torn families, broken couples and orphaned children,” said Michel Gugenheim, the chief rabbi of Paris.
The event included a prayer for the souls of the dead and another for the speedy recovery of the wounded. At least 129 people were killed and more than 350 wounded in the multiple attacks.
The chief rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, said French Jews “feel with all intensity the pain of the families touched by the tragedy and the pain of the nation in general.” French society, he said, “will rise up from its grief like American society rose up from the tragedy of 9/11 and like Israeli society, which never lay down for attacks.”
Also on Nov. 15, French Jewish and Muslim clergy led a joint memorial outside the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were killed and hundreds injured during the Nov. 13 terrorist attack.
The group, which included multiple French imams and representatives of the Paris Jewish community, laid bouquets of white roses among the hundreds of candles left outside the theater by the public, the Guardian reported.
“Anyone who uses hate speech has no place in France, and those places that preach hate are not places of prayer but are those of a sect,” Hassen Chalgoumi, the president of the imams’ conference of France, told a crowd of several dozen people. “1.5 million people are hostages of Daesh [an Arabic acronym for ISIS], 1.5 million people are hostages of these barbarians who are sullying the name of Islam and Muslims. It’s time to say no to this barbarity.”
Chalgoumi said that ISIS has a “fatwa” against him calling for his death.
In Tel Aviv, French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave presided over a Nov. 14 rally, which drew thousands to Rabin Square. Maisonnave said France has been targeted in particular for its part in the fight against terrorism and ISIS, and thanked Israel for its support.
“It is a vivid testimony to that fact that France is not alone in this struggle,” he said. “I thank the people and the authorities of this country, Israel, for their flawless support. Democracies do not seek vengance and revenge. They seek justice. The fight against radical Islam is our common struggle.”
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres also spoke, as did Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog. Peres opened his remarks with a speech in French and emphasized what he called France and Israel’s shared values.
“Tonight we are all French,” he said. “We stand shoulder to shoulder in the war against the barbaric terror that threatens the peace of the whole world. Your war is our war. Your values are our values. They are the values of the entire enlightened world.”
Attendees at the rally waved French flags and held signs with messages such as, “France, Israel is with you.” Many rally participants were French, and the crowd sang the French national anthem, along with the Israeli anthem, at the event’s close. — jta