The Missing Justice for Sarah Halimi

The French have become used to anti-Semitism -- and murdered Jews.

Seventy-six years after the Holocaust, in a continent drenched with Jewish blood, Jews still continue to be victimized in Europe, particularly in France. In recent decades, France has been a dangerous place for Jews, and as a consequence, many French Jews have moved to Israel. The murders that shook French Jewry were the gruesome Halimi murders, and there has been no justice for the victims or true punishment for the perpetrators.

The brutal murder of Dr. Sarah Halimi happened to be the second time a Jewish person named Halimi was viciously killed in Paris. The first was Ilan Halimi who was only 23 years old when he was kidnapped on January 21, 2006, by a gang called the “Barbarians,” comprised largely by Arab-Muslim immigrants. He was tortured and then died of his wounds. The French authorities in the case of Ilan Halimi, just like in Sarah’s case, did not attribute the murder to anti-Semitism. The murderers in both cases included Black Muslim men from sub-Sahara Africa (as well as Arabs from the Maghreb were involved in Ilan’s death). 

As ugly and upsetting as George Floyd’s killing was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at least he received a measure of justice. The murder of Dr. Sarah Halimi’s in Paris, France, on April 4, 2017, was far more brutal, but justice in her case was not rendered. In fact, it showed the world that in France, even dogs get a larger measure of justice that was denied the late Dr. Halimi because of a deeply rooted anti-Semitism within the current French judicial system. No worldwide riots have however, taken place as the result of her brutal murder by a hate filled Muslim African immigrant from Mali, named Kobili Traore. The cowardly murderer shouted “Allahu akbar” as he attacked and tortured Sarah in her own apartment. Afterward, he proclaimed “I killed a “Shaitan (Satan).” The only reason Traore targeted Sarah Halimi was that she was the only Jewish person in the building located in the Belleville section of Paris. Aged 65, Dr. Sarah Halimi was the mother of three children.  

Dr. Halimi was brutally beaten by Traore, he tried to suffocate her, and then he threw her from her third-floor apartment to the street. Investigators were not sure whether she died from the beating or from her fall to the street. The 27-year-old Traore (now 32) was Sarah’s neighbor. A drug dealer and drug addict, Traore claimed insanity and was promptly placed in a psychiatric facility. In 2019, Traore was declared to be not criminally responsible because he had consumed cannabis (Marijuana), which supposedly induced a state of psychosis and thus, he won’t stand trial. The decision was appealed to the French Court of Cassation (this court doesn’t re-examine the facts of the case). In April, 2021, the Court of Cassation upheld the lower court’s ruling.    

 The most appalling part of this miscarriage of justice is that the French people and the government knew that this was a clear case of a hate crime. It was anti-Semitism personified. Yet, the prosecutor in this case, Francois Molins, maintained that he could not, at that time, consider it as an anti-Semitic act. His remark goes against the clear evidence from neighbors who testified that Traore regularly abused Dr. Halimi, calling her a “dirty Jew.” Family members of the late Sarah Halimi charged that the prosecutors had deliberately covered up the anti-Semitic nature of the crime to avoid inflaming religious tensions during the French presidential and parliamentary elections. In fact, the murder of Dr. Halimi occurred a month before France’s general elections. The French political establishment wanted to suppress the clear and brutal Islamic hate crime against an elderly Jewish woman. They feared that the truth about the case might politically serve Marine Le Pen, and her National Front party, since her party opposes the immigration to France from Muslim countries.  

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported (June 9, 2017) that a European Parliament member and 17 French intellectuals protested the “omission of anti-Semitism” from the draft indictment of a Muslim for the murder of his Jewish neighbor. European Parliament member Frederique Ries, from Belgium, who happens to be Jewish, castigated the French authorities, pointing out that, “French authorities have treated (Sarah Halimi) her murder with icy silence. No national mobilization for Sarah, she died as the “media remains quasi-indifferent.”    

CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewish communities considered the Sarah Halimi murder case a “miscarriage of justice.” The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism declared that it “no longer had full confidence that anti-Semitic hate crimes in France are properly handled.” Ariel Kandel, director of the Qualita organization, which assists in the absorption of French immigrants to Israel, denounced the French court’s ruling, saying that it was “an additional reminder that anti-Semitism still rages in Europe.” He added, "The murderer (of Sarah Halimi) was completely responsible for his actions, and it is unthinkable that he will go free. The decision of the French court spits in the face of the Jewish community of France and does injury to Jews around the world.”   

In Paris and Tel Aviv, people flocked to the streets in protest of the French court’s ruling that let a cold-blooded murderer go free, and unpunished. Israel’s Diaspora Minister Omer Yankelevich, addressing the Tel Aviv rally said, “Sarah Halimi was murdered only because she was a Jew… Especially today, with the alarming rise of radical Islamic anti-Semitism throughout France, the court ruling sets a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes the security and well-being of our brothers and sisters in France.” She added, “Israel would do all in its power to insure the safety of Jews around the world.”  

French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper pointed out that, “Deciding to take narcotics and then ‘going mad’ should not, in my view, remove your criminal responsibility.” This sounds entirely reasonable, but did his election team seek to suppress the anti-Semitic nature of the Muslim murderer?   

An innocent elderly Jewish woman was brutally murdered in Paris, and her black-Muslim killer goes free by the French court. For the mainstream international media, as well as for Europeans in general, Sarah Halimi’s death is essentially a non-issue.  They have gotten used to the murder of Jews with no repercussions…


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