The unspeakable events in Toulouse last week left me cold and shaking with rage. The utter cruelty of shooting young children in the head at such close range that the gunfire burned the surrounding skin beggars belief.
CCTV cameras at the Ozar Hatorah School showed that the gunman recorded his shooting spree with a small video camera around his neck – apparently intending to publish his callous acts on the internet
The fact that pictures of one victim, eight-year-old headmaster’s daughter Miriam Monsonego, reminded me of my own two daughters only added to the revulsion I felt for self-styled Al Qaeda fanatic Mohammad Merah.
It is no comfort whatsoever to the families of the seven victims he cold-bloodedly murdered and others he injured that he was shot dead in the head by police after a vicious gunfight that ended a 32-hour siege.
And yet, now I read on the BBC that the Jewish school on which such horrendous crimes were inflicted only last week has received hate mail, and boys have been beaten outside other schools in the network from Toulouse to Paris.
What possesses people to treat fellow human beings in such a way?
No surprise, therefore, that Israel, surrounded to the north, east and south by hostile Muslim nations, should be so passionate about security.
And no surprise that the Jewish community across the world is so fearful, even paranoid, and intent on self-preservation if those waves of hostility surround them even in the supposedly developed, civil and multi-cultural western world a full 70 years after the Nazi atrocities of the Second World War.
It’s probably a little known fact, but most countries in the world where Jews exist have a security organisation to help protect their communities. Zaun works with the Société de Protection de la Communeauté Juive, which the French government partly funds to improve security for the Jewish community.
Equally unknown, perhaps, is that France boasts the largest Jewish community in Europe at 600,000 . . . and the biggest Muslim community too at five million.
Is it any wonder that Jewish schools in France are increasingly becoming like fortresses, with 4m fences erected where planning allows along with CCTV and access control?
Whither a world where our physical perimeter protection is no longer needed because man has learned to live alongside fellow man in peace and harmony? And where Miriam’s parents aren’t mourning the loss of their little princess?