Three days after a terrorist attack in a kosher supermarket in Paris left four Jewish men dead, the owner of the beleaguered store voiced his intention to immigrate to Israel.
Patrice Walid, owner of HyperCacher kosher mart in Porte de Vincennes, was injured in the attack and said that the moment he is discharged from hospital, he wants to move to the Jewish state.
“He is planning to take his five kids and to board the plane [to Israel] as soon as possible,” Walid’s brother Yoel told Army Radio Monday, and noted that his brother is still recuperating from bullet wounds to his hand and stomach.
“He is in trauma, he is still unconscious. But at least he’s alive, that’s the most important thing,” Yoel Walid said.
Friday’s attack was perpetrated by Amedy Coulibaly, a French-Senegalese national who worked in tandem with the Kouachi brothers who stormed the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices Wednesday, killing 12.
The incidents sparked increased calls by Israeli officials for French Jews to emigrate, amid already record numbers of Jews leaving France for Israel.
Yoel Walid recalled the initial moments of the Friday-afternoon attack and claimed that Coulibaly had a distinctly anti-Semitic agenda in targeting the store.
“[My brother] was supervising his staff when, at around 1:30 p.m., the terrorist abruptly burst into the shop. One of his employees was standing at the entrance and he was immediately shot and killed,” said Yoel.
“[Patrice] confronted him and the man responded: ‘You are a Jew, you will die! Everyone here will die.’ My brother then said, ‘There are children here.’ But the terrorist didn’t care, he began shooting,” continued Yoel.
“[Patrice] was shot, but he managed to escape and alert the police,” he added.
Coulibaly apparently phoned the French media at the height of the siege and said he had deliberately chosen the supermarket in order to harm Jews.
Yoel Walid praised the conduct of France’s police force and said that the Jewish community would not bow to terror, even as an increasingly acerbic strain of anti-Semitism sweeps through Europe.
“In Israel there are always attacks, so Israelis are used to it. However, France is in trauma from this attack. It was a difficult [moment] for [the French people] and the French police. We feel like we are at war,” he said.
“HyperCacher will continue working. The Jewish community will not shut down and will not cave in to terrorists. We have a lot of strength because, as Jews, we’ve been continuously attacked throughout our history [and despite it all, we have survived],” he went on.
Noting recent trends that point to a mass exodus of French Jews in the coming years as a result of anti-Semitism, Walid said that “50-60% of French Jews” are mulling emigration, while over “10,000 Jews will make aliya” in the next 12 months, using the Hebrew term for Jewish immigration to Israel.
“[Patrice] doesn’t have any sense of security in France. He just wants to live quietly and in peace, so it is easier for him to live in Israel,” his sibling added.
“He does not want to die in France. He wants to live in Israel. That is his dream.”