The funeral procession of the victims of the Toulouse terror attack is underway and the procession is making its way from Shamgar Funeral Home to Har Menuchos, where the victims will be laid to rest.
The victims, Rav Yonatan Sandler (30), his sons Aryeh (6) and Gavriel Yissacher (4), and Miriam Monsonego (8) HY”D were all murdered, brutally and senselessly, just for being Jews.
The lone terrorist arrived at the Otzar HaTorah School in Toulouse and began firing in every direction. The terrorist, 24, was taken into custody this morning, 27 Adar 5772 a shootout with police that lasted a number of hours. He told authorities the attack was to avenge “Israel’s murdering innocent Palestinian children in Gaza”.
Now, Am Yisrael joins the bereaved family, accompanying the korbanos to their final resting place in Yerushalayim, where the Sandler family lives. They were on shlichus in France for two years, bringing Torah to the Diaspora community.
Young Miriam is a descendent of a prominent Moroccan rabbinical family, and the tragedy has hit HaGaon HaRav Yehoshua Maimon, an elder of the Moroccan Jewish community, very hard as he and his tzibur seek to find strength in comforting one another.
Hundreds have already arrived at the parking lot adjacent to the entrance of Har Menuchos as the levaya is underway. Security is heavy as many dignitaries will be in attendance, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
09:53: The actual levaya is expected to get underway in the coming minutes. The area is under heavy security due to presence of dignitaries, including Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, cabinet ministers, MKs, prominent rabbonim and thousands of people who wish to identify with the moment and give kovod ha’meis to the terror victims.
09:55: Chief Rabbi HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita and HaGaon HaRav Yona Yechiel Metzger Shlita are en route to the levaya and expected to arrive at any moment.
Officials overseeing the logistics of the levaya feel the dignitaries will begin hespeidim within the next quarter of an hour.
10:00: Moti Goldstein, who heads Zaka’s Internaiutonal Unit, is on hand. He was in charge of arrangements in France and bringing the bodies to Eretz Yisrael for kvura. He tells the media that Zaka was at the scene of the attack, the Otzar HaTorah School, where they did what they are trained to do, simply kovod ha’meis. Goldstein explained the difficulty of operating on the scene, a school, the young victims, but as always, they are responsible for the kovod ha’meis on the scene and they carried out their responsibilities as they must.
10:05: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé met prior to the levaya in the President’s Residence with President Shimon Peres. He was very firm in his government’s commitment to combat terror, with the two state officials issuing a joint statement.
10:10: Emotions are running high as the tzibur at the levaya is being silenced to hear the first hesped, Mr. Marciano, who will address 8-year-old Miriam HY”D as well as the other korbanos. He begins with the recitation of Tehillim.
10:21: There is a delay as they wait for the widow, the wife of R’ Yonatan, who is on her way to the levaya.
There is an extremely large media presence to record and document the most difficult event; the small bodies aside that of R’ Yonatan. Tehillim are continuing at this time.
10:25: MK Menachem Eliezer Moses, a veteran politician, one accustomed to speaking with the press, is more or less speechless in light of the magnitude of the tragedy that has befallen Am Yisrael.
10:36: The almona has arrived and the levaya is underway. The maspid mentions the names of the victims, speaking about Sefer Vayikra, “Sefer HaKorbanos”, an analogy to a Korban Tamim and how these korbanos head to Shomayim, clean and pure.
10:40: Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is the first official speaker. All maspedim have been asked not to speak more than 5 minutes. Rivlin’s words penetrate the hearts of all present. The speaker mentions how “Kol Beis Yisrael” feels and understands the “fire”, the attack which hit all of us, here in Eretz Yisrael, France, NYC or Buenos Aires. Here, we are all together from all walks of Jewish life to give kovod to the victims.
Rivlin spoke of the terrorist who strikes out without discrimination, whether in Sderot, Merkaz HaRav in Yerushalayim, Argentina, Bombay, the Mumbai Chabad House and this time, in Toulouse. “The terrorists does not differentiate between frum and not, chareidi and not, Sephardi or Ashkenazi, a Jew here or abroad. We are all the same.
These are tinokos shel beis raban who are clean, pure of aveiros, pure of hate and they are guilty of nothing other than being Jewish.
The speaker spoke of the pure evil surrounding such attacks and people who simple strike out at us because we are Jews, but stated we remain strong and will never permit such people and their horrific acts to prevail on us.
10:50: Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai is being maspid the victims. He speaks of the difficult blow to us all, to the young budding talmid chacham, Yonatan, and the innocent children. He speaks of Aaron HaCohen who lost his two sons, and today, we too have to bear our loss as painful as it may be.
Yishai calls on the Government of France to do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice under the full weight of the law, and to do everything possible to protect the French Jewish community.
10:55: Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shlomo Amar Shlita is being maspid the victims. The rav is fighting back the tears, speaking in a choked voice. He is exhibiting great difficult continuing to speak. The rav is speaking of the profound loss, the state of Am Yisrael, the gezeira and the need for a realization and an awakening as to the realities.
“We cry but we are strong. We are firm in our emunah and we must and will continue, to teach and learn Torah and to spread yiddishkheit. They will not succeed in breaking us. This is the last will and testament of these young victims, to continue being marbitz Torah, to continue in the work they began, to continue in our adherence of Torah and Mitzvos…”
11:05: Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein is giving a hesped.
11:16: A hesped is being given in French by a member of the Toulouse community.
11:34: HaGaon HaRav Reuven Lochtir will be maspid in the name of the family of Miriam, for the elderly grandfather, the prominent rav is unable to find the strength to do so at this time. The rav is a close family friend. Most of the address if being delivered in French.
11:41: Shmuel Sandler, the father of Yonatan and grandfather of Aryeh and Gavriel is giving a hesped. He is speaking in French.
He changed to Hebrew and spoke of the parsha as well, the first korban, an Olah, which is all for Hashem. The bereaved father and grandfather speaks of the korbanos that are before us, “all for Hashem” in their entirety.
11:53: Rav Chaim Malul, a grandfather of Gavriel and Aryeh is about to give a hesped.
12:19: Apologizing to all the rabbonim and others who should speak, but time does not permit. Asking mechila and thanking all government officials and agencies, with a special word of hakoras hatov for Zaka. The next stage of the levaya is underway.
12:26: The levaya is not moving on foot only. There is no room for vehicles. They are heading to Gush 3 Plot 2. The first is little Miriam HY”D, following by the Rav Yonatan HY”D and his sons, Gavriel and Aryeh HY”D.
13:00: The kvura of the terror victims is taking place at this time. At least 30 people required medical assistance during the first part of the levaya.
(YWN Israel – Desk)