The bodies of the four Jewish men killed on Friday in terrorist attack at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris will arrive in Israel for burial on Tuesday.
The victims and their families are set to land in Tel Aviv early Tuesday morning ahead of the interment ceremony at Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem at 12:00 noon on Tuesday.
The funerals will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition head Isaac Herzog, various members of Knesset and religious leaders.
The decision came after the Foreign Ministry reached out to the families with an offer to bury the victims in Israel, despite the fact that they were not Israeli citizens, and the families accepted. The four will officially be recognized as terror victims.
Netanyahu charged Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat with the organization of the funerals. She met with the various government bodies to make the final arrangements.
The victims, who were killed shortly before the start of Shabbat on Friday afternoon, were named Saturday as Yohan Cohen, 22, an employee of the HyperCacher store; Yoav Hattab, 21, a student of Tunisian origin and the son of the chief rabbi of Tunis; Phillipe Barham, 45, an executive at an IT company, a father of four and the brother of a rabbi; and François-Michel Saada, 64, a retired father of two.
Valerie Barham, Phillipe’s wife said in an interview with Channel 2 Sunday that her husband would have been wanted to be buried in Israel.
“He would have wanted to be buried only there,” she said, before revealing that the two have a son who is buried in Israel. “He should be there with him.”
Looking pale and stricken, Barham recounted how after dropping off his kids at school, her husband was supposed to go pick up a few things for her at the store before Shabbat dinner.
“He usually does the shopping on Thursdays but I needed a few things so I asked him to go,” she said. “There’s a market close to his work but he ended up going to that one [Hyper Cacher in Porte-de-Vincennes in eastern Paris].”
After she heard that there was a hostage crisis at the Hyper Cacher, she said she called her husband, but he did not answer. “I texted him a few times but there was no response, I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist gunman who murdered the four men and held others hostage before he was killed by French security forces at the kosher store, reportedly told a French journalist at the height of the siege that he had deliberately chosen to target Jews.
The last decade has seen a series of high profile attacks on Jews in France, including the kidnapping and brutal murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006 and a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 that left four people dead, including a rabbi and three children.
During the summer, a number of anti-Israel rallies turned violent, including one in which Jewish worshipers were trapped inside a synagogue.
After a massive march in Paris to commemorate the 17 victims of last week’s terror attacks in the French capital, Netanyahu reiterated the call, telling an audience in the city’s Grand Synagogue that “any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel,” he said.