Widow of slain Toulouse rabbi: No one imagined terror would strike Jewish community

Eva Sandler, wife and mother of three victims of the Toulouse shootings, speaks about her loss, claiming that she worried more about anti-Semitism in France than terrorism in Israel.

Ha’aretz     March 25, 2012


Rabbi Jonathan Sandler with his wife and children Aryeh (right) and Gabriel (left).

Less than one week after the Toulouse shooting in which she lost her husband and two sons, Eva Sandler told Channel 2 on Sunday that the Jewish community in Toulouse did not imagine a possible terror attack.

Sandler told Channel 2 that she did not believe something as terrible as a shooting could take place. According to her, anti-Semitism was present, but “never anything terrible. No one imagined terror in Toulouse.”

Having lived in Israel for nine years before moving to Toulouse, Sandler said that her family in France would caution her about terrorism, but she felt that the real danger was back in France. “My parents would tell me not to take buses, but I worried about them there in France, “she said, “and I see that I was right to worry about them more.”

Sandler further stated that the death of her husband Jonathan, and her two songs, Aryeh and Gavriel, that nothing is more important than spending time with family. “I can tell people that they need to pay more attention to their husband, or children, that they don’t understand how important this is,” she explained. “Every night I would make sure to recite the ‘Shema’ prayer, and on that day, I was with my parents, and I said to my husband, that I didn’t say ‘Shema’ with the children. So I understood that even when I’m busy, I must take time to sing with them.”

The strength to carry on, she says, comes from her memories of her loved ones, and from God, and from the support she has received from Jews around the world. “God gives me the strength, without it I would not be able to stand, the truth is that I see the unity of the Jewish people, and that strengthens me the most. People came here that I didn’t even know, they were wonderful.”

Earlier on Sunday, preliminary charges were filed against the brother of Mohamed Merah, Abdelkader Merah, for complicity in the shootings which claimed the lives of seven people.

Abdelkader, 29, was already known to security services for helping smuggle Jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007. He had been in detention since dawn on Wednesday as police in Toulouse and then Paris questioned him. Being placed under formal investigation is the next legal step after being held in custody and means that a criminal trial is likely.



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