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ANALYSIS – This Frenchwoman of the Jewish faith killed last April fell prey to a new evil: Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism, exacerbated in recent years by the rise of radical Islam in certain neighborhoods.

And Macron finally mentioned Sarah Halimi. Duringe tribute to the victims of the Vél 'd'Hiv roundup' Last Sunday, the President of the Republic broke down the wall of indifference that surrounded the murder of this French woman of the Jewish faith, tortured in her home to cries of "Allah akbar" then defenestrated. "Despite the murderer's denials, justice must now shed full light on the death of Sarah Halimi," hammered Emmanuel Macron, triggering a round of applause. Just before him, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, had mentioned the case and the president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (Crif), Francis Kalifat, called to recognize the anti-Semitic nature of the murder of Sarah Halimi.

This divorced ex-director of a nursery, described as “discreet, kind, helpful”, was 65 years old and was the mother of three children. She had lived in an HLM in the Belleville district for about thirty years.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”#993300″ size=””]"With each blow, I hear a moan, she doesn't even have the strength to cry out"[/perfectpullquote]

On the night of April 4, his neighbour, Kobili Traore, 27 years old, entered her home around four o'clock in the morning, assaulted her and began her abuse. “The police report confirms that my sister was tortured, he massacred her. The damage is such that my decency does not allow me to give you details,” explained William Attal, Sarah Halimi's brother. His sister's ordeal lasted forty minutes. In the investigation that the journalist ofJewish news, Noémie Halioua, devoted to this case, the testimony of a neighbor freezes the blood.

“The first thing that woke me up was the moans of a living being in pain, he reports, shocked by the bestiality of the aggression. At first I think it's an animal or a baby. But afterwards, by opening the curtain and opening the window, I understand that it is a woman who is moaning under the blows she receives. With each blow, I hear a moan, she doesn't even have the strength to cry out. However, Kobili Traoré knocks and knocks again. So strong that his right fist is swollen. While hounding his victim, the assassin calls her a sheitan (“demon” in Arabic), declaims suras from the Koran, and shouts “Allah akbar” more than a dozen times. In the end, after leaving her knocked out, Kobili Traoré drags her victim by the wrists and throws her out of the third floor window. Then, perfectly calm, he makes a prayer. Sarah Halimi is lying dead in the small interior courtyard of the building.

The ostrich policy

To the unheard-of brutality of this murder first answered a deafening media and political silence. At the material time, only the community press and social networks were interested in what was then considered to be a trivial incident. Le Figarois the first national daily to sound the tocsin across the appeal of 17 intellectuals, including Alain Finkielkraut, Michel Onfray, Pascal Bruckner, Jacques Julliard, Élisabeth Badinter and Paul Thibaud. “Everything suggests, in this crime, that the denial of reality has struck again, they write. We demand that the full truth be established about the murder of Sarah Halimi. Let the whole truth be told about the depth of the French fractures. The policy of the ostrich must end and our leaders must become aware of what is happening in the country. For Sarah and her family, but also for France.”

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]Why did you leave it to the Crif president alone to denounce the reality of the “new” anti-Semitism? Why not name the specific danger posed by radical Islam?[/perfectpullquote]

By solemnly evoking the death of Sarah Halimi, the President of the Republic responded to this call. At a time when the anti-Semitic character of the murder has still not been retained by justice, the gesture is strong. Emmanuel Macron definitively tears the assassination of Sarah Halimi from the "news item" section and reveals its political dimension. If we must welcome this position, we can however regret that the President of the Republic remained in some way in the middle of the ford. Why did you leave it to the Crif president alone to denounce the reality of the “new” anti-Semitism? Why not name the specific danger posed by radical Islam?

Also problematic is the fact of evoking the case of Sarah Halimi after a long development on anti-Semitism in France during the Third Republic and the Vichy regime. A follower of "complex thought", Macron no doubt wanted to draw an analogy between the 1930s and contemporary perils. But does this rapprochement between two profoundly different historical moments not, on the contrary, fuel confusion? The historical analogy “claims to enlighten us: it blinds us, likes to repeat Alain Finkielkraut. Instead of reading the present in the light of the past, it conceals its disturbing novelty,” wrote the philosopher in 2014 in Le Figaro. The ghosts of World War II are far away.

No more than an "unbalanced", Sarah Halimi was not the victim of the return of "the filthy beast". It has fallen prey to a new evil: Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism, exacerbated in recent years by the rise of radical Islam in certain neighborhoods. As early as 2002, historian Georges Bensoussan denounced this anti-Semitism in his delivered, The Lost Territories of the Republic , which brought together the testimonies of teachers from the suburbs. It is this anti-Semitism which, just ten years ago, killed Ilan Halimi, 23, tortured and then left for dead by Youssouf Fofana, the leader of the barbarian gang; but also Jonathan Sandler and his two sons Aryeh and Gabriel, assassinated by Mohammed Merah in 2012, as well as the victims of the Hyper Cacher attack in January 2015 by Amedy Coulibaly.

This imported anti-Semitism grows on the soil of a cultural anti-Judaism (described bluntly by the writer Boualem Sansal) relayed by satellite dishes and the Internet. It is also the result of the disintegration of part of French youth from immigrant backgrounds. This seeks in radical Islam a substitute identity and makes the "Jew" or the "White" the scapegoat for all its ills. Justice did not conclude but Kobili Traoré, the murderer of Sarah Halimi, who made several stays in prison, in particular for drug cases, has the typical profile of this disintegrated youth. Everything shows that the Sarah Halimi affair is not a resurgence of the past, but a very contemporary story: that of French malaise. This malaise should have been discussed during the presidential campaign. At the time, however, the media and politicians, including Macron, ignored the murder of Sarah Halimi.


Source: ©  Le Figaro Premium – “Sarah Halimi: a contemporary tragedy”

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