Fragments of FranceOn March 19, 2012, the jihadist killed four people, including three children, in front of the Ozar-Hatorah school. Almost ten years later, the wound remains deep within the Jewish community of Toulouse, nearly half of the members of which have left the city.
A long wall topped with a palisade, itself surmounted by barbed rollers, entrenched camp style: 33 rue Jules-Dalou, in Toulouse, breaks with the alignment of the pretty individual houses that line this peaceful road in the district of the Rose Garden. Seen from the outside, the compound, which stretches for a little less than a hundred meters, looks more like a detention center than a school. Cameras film the area around the clock, and to enter the Ohr-Torah school, you have to show your white paw. After a summary investigation carried out by a security guard, a heavy solid steel gate opens onto a playground.
Since that appalling morning of Monday March 19, 2012, the school, which at that time was still called “Ozar-Hatorah”, has been living under protection. That day, around 8:15 a.m., a man on a Yamaha T-Max motorcycle caused carnage. Face hidden under a full-face helmet equipped with a GoPro camera, Mohammed Merah kills four people including three children from 3 to 8 years old and blessed a fourth, 15 years old, before leaving as he came on his car. The child of the city of Izards, in the northern districts of Toulouse, who became an Islamist terrorist at the age of 24, signs here, in this school until then without history and unknown to most Toulouse residents, the tragic outcome of ‘a criminal week after which, armed with a parabellum, he killed seven people in cold blood. Three soldiers are added to the four victims of the Ozar-Hatorah school.
More than nine years have passed and, at the end of August 2021, the students of this high school-college have resumed classes one week ahead of the secular school calendar. History to catch up in advance the upcoming closings in September motivated by the Jewish New Year celebrations and the festivals that accompany it.
Save the establishment
In this post-Covid re-entry period, Yaacov Monsonégo, the director of the school, is up to his task. Black pants and jackets on a white shirt, Yaacov Monsonégo symbolizes the tutelary figure of the establishment. Son of a rabbi of Moroccan origin, this Franco-Israeli landed in Toulouse with his wife, Yaffa, in the early 1990s. When he settled down, Ozar-Hatorah mentioned nothing, or very little. The institution accommodates eight kids in an apartment on the edge of the canal. Yaacov Monsonégo then feels invested with a mission: to transform this pseudo-establishment into a real Jewish school, where religion will be taught of course, but also general subjects. Mission accomplished, since, in 2012, after having roamed Jewish places of worship for several years to convince families to enroll their children in this school, Ozar-Hatorah has registered around 200 students.
You have 85.48% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.