A plaque has been unveiled in memory of Ilan Halimi, the French Jew of North African origin kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered by an antisemitic gang 11 years ago. Since then, the number of antisemitic incidents in France has sky-rocketed. Ben Cohen writes in JNS News (with thanks: Michelle):
Wellwishers gather at the plaque unveiling ceremony
Halimi was kidnapped on January 20, 2006, by a mainly Muslim gang
calling themselves “The Barbarians.” Lured into the gang’s hands by an
attractive young woman who flirted with him in the cellphone store where
he worked as a salesman, Halimi subsequently spent three weeks in
captivity, during which he was constantly beaten and burned with
cigarettes while being tied up.
Throughout the ordeal, “The Barbarians” attempted to extort 450,000
Euros in ransom money from Halimi’s relatives, believing them to be
wealthy because – as one of the gang members later explained to police –
“Jews have money.” On 13 February, Halimi was dumped, barely alive and
with burns on 80 percent of his body, near a railway track on the
outskirts of Paris. Discovered by a passerby who called for an
ambulance, Halimi died on his way to the hospital.
The Bagneux ceremony came during a week of heightened anxiety about
antisemitism in France, as new statistics released by Jewish communal
defense organization SPCJ revealed that while Jews make up less than 1
percent of France’s population, they are the targets of 30 percent of
Documenting the number of antisemitic outrages in France
since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, the SPCJ
noted that in that year, there were 744 antisemitic attacks, compared
with just 82 the previous year. These high numbers have remained
consistent each year throughout the last decade and a half.