Toulouse tragedy: questions over Jewish school security provision

| March 25, 2012

There were surveillance cameras and a tall fence around the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse. But the cameras were not manned and there was no guard.

The tragedy was "an accident waiting to happen" according to a British member of the city's Jewish community. Stephen Peters, a former board member of London's New West End Synagogue, said the threat of a deadly attack had not been taken seriously. "There were no security arrangements. The best access to the school is to drive down the road. The school is on the right-hand side. Parents open the car door and the children walk in through the front gates. [The killer] walked straight in the same way and shot Miriam Monsonego."

In the immediate aftermath of the murders of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his two children Arie and Gabriel and eight year-old Miriam Monsonego, the leaders of the Toulouse Jewish community blamed the authorities for taking away the guard. It soon emerged, however, that the guard had always been paid for by the community and it was the school's own decision to lower the level of security.

"We had no choice because the security costs are very high and we have to keep the school fees down so parents will continue sending children to the Jewish schools," said one community leader. "As it is only about 30 percent of Jewish children in Toulouse attend Jewish schools."

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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