France Continues Its Coverup of an Anti-Semitic Murder

Sept. 7 2017

In July, the French president Emmanuel Macron declared that “the judiciary must shed full light” on the murder of a Parisian Jew named Sarah Halimi, who was brutalized and killed by a Muslim neighbor on April 4 while he recited verses of the Quran and called her “Satan.” Macron’s comment, writes Michel Gurfinkiel, was a refreshing change after seemingly systematic attempts by France’s government and press to downplay the crime—attempts that still continue. The story begins with the police, who, thanks to a phone call from one of the killer’s relatives, arrived before he even entered his victim’s apartment but did not intervene until after she was dead:

Some [witnesses] gave details about the exact location of the assault, the attacker’s identity, the fact he vilified his victim as a Jew and as “a Satan” while hitting her, or even—as far as the Muslim neighbors were concerned—the Quranic verses he chanted. Yet the police still failed to storm Sarah Halimi’s apartment and rescue her. . . .

The behavior of the police was strange enough throughout this tragic night. Further questions were soon to be raised about the handling of the case. First, while the murder and its circumstances were reported almost instantly within the Jewish community and by the press agency AFP, the mainstream media didn’t mention it at all for two days. . . . Likewise, very little was shown or said about a protest march by 1,000 people in the neighborhood on April 9. Considering the enormity of the crime, the reporting remained bafflingly low-key. . . .

No less disturbing was the public officials’ silence. French members of the cabinet or government officials usually react to such crimes ex officio. Some may even take a more personal stand. . . . No such reactions occurred after Sarah Halimi’s murder, even though the minister of the interior granted an emergency audience to the leaders of the Jewish community. . . .

Third, there is the legal angle. The issue of the attacker’s sanity, and thus of his responsibility [for the crime], was left undecided for more than four months, and is still pending. . . . More disturbingly, the investigative judge, Anne Ihuelu, has declined to charge [the killer] with anti-Semitic motivations.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Emmanuel Macron, France, French Jewry, Politics & Current Affairs, Sarah Halimi


The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount