Geneva, Switzerland – The assassination of French Muslim and Christian military personnel and French Jewish civilians two weeks ago in Toulouse and Montauban has rocked France. Yet beyond the fears that this act has stirred among both French Jews and their Muslim compatriots, the desire for co-existence prevails.
Many of us European Jews, confronted with the horror of children being murdered at a Jewish school, were above all rendered speechless. Images of World War II came to mind – images of soldiers pointing their guns at women carrying their children.
However, this is something else. It appears the primary motivation of Mohammed Merah, the Frenchman who claimed responsibility for the attacks, was not anti-Semitism, given that his first victims were French soldiers, Muslims and Christians. And the reason Merah gave for the murder of these French Jewish children – the suffering of Palestinian children – may only hide a deeper reasoning for this barbaric act.