French officials: Brutal axe murder of Jew wasn’t necessarily antisemitic

Pictures of the Muslim murderer that recently emerged on social media show him burning an Israeli flag.

By World Israel News Staff

A senior advisor to the Chief Rabbi of France told an Israeli newspaper on Tuesday that according to French police, the gruesome murder of a Jewish man wasn’t necessarily an antisemitic hate crime.

Eyal Haddad, 34, was attacked by his axe-wielding Muslim roommate in the town of Longperrier in northeastern France earlier this month.

After murdering Haddad, the suspect, identified as Mohamed Dridi, attempted to burn Haddad’s body and then buried him.

According to French-language media outlets, Dridi said that he committed the murder because Haddad owed him 100 euros and admitted that Haddad’s Jewishness was the reason for the killing.

Pictures of Dridi that recently emerged on social media depicted him burning an Israeli flag.

But according to several high-profile Jewish community officials in France, the authorities believe that the killing was not an inherently antisemitic act.

Rabbi Moshe Levin, who is a confidant of the Chief Rabbi of France and a member of the Conference of European Rabbis, told the Jerusalem Post that French police had investigated and don’t believe the murder was due to antisemitism.

“It doesn’t seem like an antisemitic attack,” a senior official in a prominent Jewish organization told the Post.

“We’re pushing at the moment for the authorities to understand if this is actually an antisemitic murder or rather just a fight between friends,” the unnamed official added.

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He said he believed the reason for the murder was due to the men’s “interpersonal relationship. The two knew each other very well.”

Despite assurances from French authorities, some in France’s Jewish community are wary of officials’ statements that the murder was not antisemitic.

“Perfect, thanks to you we can skip a police investigation, what a godsend,” one French Twitter user sarcastically wrote.

The French government has downplayed the antisemitic nature of previous slayings of Jews in France, including the brutal murder of Sarah Halimi.

Halimi, 65, was severely beaten and then thrown out her third-floor apartment window by her Muslim neighbor as he shouted “Allahu Akbar” and recited verses from the Quran.

The assailant was found not guilty by reason of insanity because he had smoked cannabis prior to the murder, and the French courts initially refused to acknowledge that antisemitism was a motivation for the killing.