Toulouse widow lights candle at Israel memorial ceremony

By Jennifer Lipman, April 25, 2012

The widow of the rabbi murdered in last month's shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse has taken part in a ceremony marking Israel's day of remembrance for its fallen.

Eva Sandler lit the memorial candle at a Jewish Agency ceremony in Jerusalem, held a little over a month after her husband and two sons were gunned down by Islamist Mohammed Merah.

Mrs Sandler was joined at the Yom Hazikaron service by NatanSharansky, the former Soviet dissident who is now chairman of the Jewish Agency.

He told those gathered that attacks on Jews, in places ranging from Toulouse to Buenos Aires, were also Israel's wars.

"It is our job to remember each and every one of the victims," he said.

Earlier in the day a two-minute silence was marked across Israel and a national memorial service was held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. As Yom Hazikaron comes to an end Israel will begin marking Yom Ha'atzmaut, in celebration of 64 years since the establishment of the state.

In an official message the Israeli Prime Minister paid tribute to Israel's tens of millions of friends in the d aspora. He said: "This passionate support, along with Israel's strong army, free economy and dynamic society, is the pillar of our national strength," he said.

Queen Elizabeth was among the well-wishers who sent greetings to Israel ahead of the anniversary. In a message to Israeli President Shimon Peres, she said: "It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency my congratulations on the celebration of your national day, together with my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the government and people of Israel in the coming year."

Last updated: 5:32pm, April 25 2012