NEW YORK, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC solemnly remembers the victims – three children and their teacher – of the terrorist assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, one year ago.
The gunman, Mohammed Merah, a radical Muslim, died later in a gun battle with French police who had pursued him for the murderous attacks on the Ozar Hatorah school and, during the previous week, the assassination of three French soldiers.
"We stand in solidarity with the French Jewish community, remembering Myriam Monsonego, Adam and Gabriel Sandler, and Jonathan Sandler, who were mercilessly shot to death," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Our thoughts are with the families and the Toulouse community, as they continue to deal with the endlessly painful aftermath of that horrendous day."
AJC responded immediately after the March 19 attack at the Jewish school Ozar Hatorah, and provided assistance to the Toulouse Jewish community. Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, AJC's representative in Paris, has been in regular contact with the community. She will attend on behalf of AJC the official ceremony Sunday in Toulouse, where President Hollande is expected to speak.
AJC also held a special commemoration at its Global Forum in Washington, D.C., last May. Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jews, delivered an impassioned address before an audience of more than 1,600 that included three foreign ministers and other dignitaries.
"The Toulouse tragedy was yet another reminder of the need for utmost vigilance among French Jewry and the French authorities," said Harris.
Indeed, that need has been painfully clear as the year 2012 saw a surge in anti-Semitic attacks, notably after the Toulouse tragedy, in France, according to the SPCJ, the French Jewish community's protection service.
"The year 2012 was the most violent since 2004," the SPCJ concluded in the report it delivered to the French prime minister.
Harris added that "AJC believes that the French government is committed to fighting the scourge of anti-Semitism, as are many groups in French society, but that more needs to be done to confront the mounting challenge."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee