ORT offers condolences, solidarity in wake of shooting


The murder of four people, including three children, outside the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse, France, this morning is a cruel and barbaric act which has shocked the entire community, the President of ORT France, Lucien Kalfon said.

Mr Kalfon has expressed his deepest sympathy to the Principal of the school, Yaacok Monsonego, who lost his eight-year-old daughter in the attack. The other victims were Yonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher, and his two children Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three; several others were wounded.

“I have learned with great sadness of this morning’s attack against your child, students and the teacher at your school. I deeply deplore this criminal act and its tragic consequences,”? Mr Kalfon wrote.

“ORT France, its officers, staff and students share the pain and loss that you are suffering in these sinister circumstances.

“You can be certain that we stand with you in this time of trial.

“I offer my most heartfelt condolences together with those of everyone at ORT France.”? But in a letter to World ORT President Dr Jean de Gunzburg, Mr Kalfon added, “We are all shocked by this cruel event which indicates the barbarism faced by Jewish schools.”?

Meanwhile, the 450 students at the city’s ORT school, six kilometres from where the shooting took place, have been instructed to stay indoors even during break time. Police officers have been stationed outside the school, in the western suburb of Colomiers.

On hearing the news, Dr de Gunzburg immediately wrote to Rabbi Jean-Paul Amoyelle, who spearheaded the expansion of the Ozar HaTorah network to France from its original sphere of operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

“I told him that I was absolutely horrified by the news,”? Dr de Gunzburg said. “I am shocked; it’s horrible, absolutely horrible “モ a massacre. It’s a disgrace that these things can happen: like all Jewish institutions Ozar HaTorah was protected by police but that protection was removed a few months ago and I don’t know why.”?

World ORT Representative in France – and former National Director of ORT France – Guy Seniak, said: “I know the people at Ozar HaTorah from my visits to Toulouse. This is deeply distressing. Unfortunately, this kind of atrocity is not new. It’s true that the Jewish community has not seen something like this for several years and maybe because of that security has not been at the front of our mind. This shows that Jewish institutions have to be very cautious and I expect that we will now see a period where security is prioritised. The important thing is to be aware and not to panic.

“It’s an old problem: not to make ourselves live in a ghetto while, at the same time, to ensure we have the best security.”

World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and the Ozar HaTorah community; we wish the wounded a full and speedy recovery. I know that our friends at ORT France, particularly in Toulouse, will do everything they can to support the school. We trust that the French authorities are doing everything in their power to find those responsible and will do everything necessary to protect Jewish communities.”?

State Prosecutor Michel Valet has reportedly linked today’s killings with those of three paratroopers in the region over the weekend.

In today’s incident the shooter rode his black motorbike up to a crowd of about 200 children and parents as they were entering the school at about 8am local time and fired weapons which were used in the killing of the paratroopers.