Emmanuel Macron will chair a national tribute to the French victims of the Hamas attack in Israel, in the presence of families and representatives of the political class.
Four months ago today, the Islamist group Hamas carried out a bloody attack on Israeli soil, killing at least 1,160 people, including 42 French nationals. France pays tribute to them this Wednesday, February 7, as well as to the six injured French people, the four French Hamas hostages who were released and the three compatriots “still missing and presumed hostages”, announced the Elysée. For the occasion, Emmanuel Macron will chair a ceremony in Paris, in the Cour des Invalides.
The tribute will begin at 11:45 a.m. (10:45 a.m. GMT) and will open with the Jewish Kaddish prayer for the dead, followed by a speech by the Head of State, the bell ringing “To the Dead”, a minute of silence and of the Marseillaise. The ceremony is placed “under the universal sign of the fight against anti-Semitism and through it (…) all forms of hatred, racism and oppression towards minorities”. In Israel, this French tribute will be broadcast on a giant screen in the “hostage square” in Tel Aviv.
Families and politics… 1,000 guests invited
The tribute to the French victims will be held in front of 1,000 people, including 150 representatives of the victims’ families. Most of them came from Israel on a special flight chartered for the occasion. The ceremony being national and republican, the Head of State, the First Lady and members of the government will be present. The presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, Yaël Braun-Pivet and Gérard Larcher, as well as all the leaders of political parties were also invited as required by the protocol in force since 1989. “It is up to the said parties to decide, in conscience, what is fair and elegant” added the Elysée. A message especially addressed to the elected representatives of rebellious France whose arrival is not well received by the families of the victims.
A family group also sent a letter to Emmanuel Macron to ask that the presence of rebellious France be “banned” at the ceremony. Elected officials from the left party have always refused to qualify the Hamas attack as a terrorist act. “In the name of what can I be denied the right to emotion and sorrow?” replied LFI coordinator Manuel Bompard, who will be present with the president of the rebellious deputies Mathilde Panot. The party, however, denounces a “double standard” with Gaza, where more than 27,500 people have been killed since the start of the Israeli offensive, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health, including at least two French children. The Elysée announced that a “memorial time” was planned for them in a second phase.
The Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, and the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, were invited to the event, but will not be present, officially detained by current events.
What will the ceremony look like?
The 42 French victims of the Hamas attack, as well as the six injured French people, the four freed hostages and the three victims still missing are in the spotlight. At the start of the ceremony, the portraits of each of these victims, bearing only the first name and age of the person, will be transported and placed in the main courtyard of Les Invalides. With these portraits, “France will make tribute to his children”, insisted the Elysée. Many victims being of Jewish faith, the Kaddish prayer for the dead will be sung. The Head of State will then speak. Then the bell “To the Dead” will ring, followed a minute of silence and finally the Marseillaise.