Herzog addresses memorial for Toulouse and Montauban attacks
Herzog addresses memorial for Toulouse and Montauban attacks Kobi Gideon/GPO

President Isaac Herzog spoke on Sunday at the memorial ceremony marking one decade since the Toulouse and Montauban terror attacks in France.

President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic, Jewish community leaders, heads of Jewish organizations in France, former French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, former French premiers, local leaders, and Jewish community representatives also participated in the memorial.

The Toulouse and Montauban shootings unfolded in March 2012. They involved three terror attacks against French soldiers and Jewish civilians in Toulouse and Montauban, murdering seven people, including three children.

"Today, we mark ten years since the terrible day of the murder, here in Toulouse, of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arié and Gabriel, and the little girl Myrian Monsonego. I shall never forget their funeral procession when they were laid to rest in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish People, from which I came here today with my wife Michal," Herzog said in his speech.

"Brothers and sisters, we stand here today in order to say clearly: terror will not defeat us. Our mutual responsibility, our spirit, and our glorious heritage—these, no one can suppress," he added.

"Anyone searching for a justification for hatred must know that hatred has no reason. There is no justification for the murder of innocent children in Toulouse; there is not, and there will never be, any reason or justification for acts of terror, wherever they may be perpetrated. This is pure and bottomless hatred, motivated by an extremist and distorted version of Islam, which never misses an opportunity to attack Jews, and as we have seen, unfortunately, also Muslims and Christians."

"Even today, we hear about antisemitic incidents around the world and witness unimaginable hatred on social media. We must keep working at the political, judicial, and educational levels; we must clearly and vocally condemn racism and antisemitism; we must fight it without compromise," said Herzog.

"The adoption of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism is an important step by the Government of France to fight antisemitism, and I want to express my gratitude. I also want to thank you for the major effort by the Government of France and security authorities in recent years to safeguard the security of Jewish communities."

"The forms of antisemitism include expressions and acts of hatred toward the state of the Jews, the State of Israel, and of a desire to annihilate it. Iran is the main driver of this agenda. It feeds it, foments it, and enflames antisemitism. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are a central actor in the spread of terror and hate."

"The family of nations must stand together and not let Iran pour more fuel on the flames of hatred—before it is too late. The State of Israel will not accept any attempt to dispute or threaten our basic right to exist, as a nation in our homeland. I thank you, Mr. President, for your support and for the fact that France stands with Israel on this matter," Herzog said.

"We gather here at a time when Europe’s skies have been blackened by artillery smoke and the lives of millions are being destroyed, as they flee from their homes. The sight of this unimaginable human suffering, and of the flourishing cities that have become ravaged warzones, is heartbreaking."

"I commend the efforts of the European leadership and your own important efforts, President Macron, and I greatly appreciate them. The State of Israel is making every effort to bring about the end of the destruction, the ruin, the tears, and the unjustifiable and futile loss of life. We are working, with all our means, to extend humanitarian aid to those whose world has collapsed. From here, I pray that this tragedy will end and that we may swiftly merit days full of hope."