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 racist attacks.
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.