Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has called for “clarity” from the judiciary after anger from French Jews at the failure to acknowledge the murder of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman, as an antisemitic hate crime.
“Despite the denials of the murderer, our judiciary must bring total clarity around the death of Sarah Halimi,” President Macron said, during a speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the Vel d’hiv, the deportation of French Jews from Paris to Nazi concentration camps.
In an apparent reference to the silence in some quarters as to the nature of Mrs Halimi’s death, he went on to say “we were silent, because we did not want to see.”
Mrs Halimi, 66, was killed in April by Kobili Traore, a neighbour in her apartment block. After breaking into her flat in the middle of the night, he beat her, with other residents describing how he had shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he did so.
He then threw her off a third floor balcony in front of the police, who had cordoned off the area but were supposedly waiting for reinforcements before attempting to rescue Mrs Halimi. Traore also shouted “I killed the Shaitan [Satan]”.
Traore, who is in custody, has since denied that his crime was motivated by antisemitism. He has been charged with homicide, but not with an antisemitic hate crime.
The Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella organization for Jewish organisations in France, released a statement this weekend, saying that it had been "astonished that the antisemitic character of the murder was omitted [from the indictment].
“The personality of the criminal, who shouted 'Allahu akbar,' his modus operandi, and his choice of a victim he knew was Jewish affirm our thesis and certitude: This crime is incontestably antisemitic."
Francis Kalifat, the President-elect of CRIF, used part of his speech at Sunday’s memorial event to ask President Macron directly that the "antisemitic character of this murder" should be "inscribed on the record".