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Macron: “Barbarity That Feeds On Antisemitism:” France Pays Tribute To Oct. 7 Victims With Kaddish

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute Wednesday to victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in Israel in a national ceremony and denounced what he described as the “largest antisemitic massacre of our century.”

Forty-two French citizens died in the attack, and three hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza. Three empty chairs symbolized their absence.

The ceremony comes after new Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné made his first trip to the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he pushed for the release of the hostages.

Four other French hostages have been released. A total of about 250 people were abducted in the Hamas attack and about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

Honor guards held photographs of each victim in front of a giant screen showing their first name in the Invalides’ monumental courtyard in Paris.

(Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool via AP)

Many of those killed “will never turn 30,” Macron said. “Their voices still resonate in Hebrew and French.”

The French president strongly denounced barbarity “which feeds on antisemitism and propagates it.” He said “nothing can justify or excuse this terrorism. Nothing.”

AP/Thibault Camus

A sharp rise in antisemitic acts in France has been reported in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack. Data from the Interior Ministry and the Jewish Community Protection Service watchdog showed that 1,676 antisemitic acts were reported in 2023, compared to 436 the previous year.

The Republican Guard’s orchestra played “Kaddish” by French composer Maurice Ravel, written in 1914 based on a traditional Hebrew melody.

Macron said France will keep “working tirelessly to meet the aspirations for peace and security of all in the Middle East” and stressed that Israeli lives “are not the only ones that continue to be torn apart.”

Families of victims attended the ceremony, many coming from Israel on a special flight chartered by the French Republic.


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