French Survivor of Anti-Semitic Attack Joins Elite IDF Brigade

Israeli soldiers mourn Steinberg (Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty)
Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty

TEL AVIV – A French Jew who survived a stabbing attack when he was 13 has since moved to Israel and was recruited into the elite Givati brigade last week, Israel Hayom reported.

Jonathan Weinberg, a French Jew who was attacked in Versailles in 2005 told the newspaper outlet about his harrowing experience.

“I came back from synagogue wearing a kippah and a group of eight youths jumped me, stabbed me in the stomach, beat me in the head while shouting ‘Jewish son of a bitch’ and other antisemitic slurs,” recounted Weinberg.

He subsequently spent a month in hospital having sustained serious injuries.

“I was unconscious and on a respirator, and it was really tough. I was in shock from what had happened,” he said. “In a situation like that of brutality against Jews for being Jews, France was no place for me.”

Weinberg told Israel Hayom that he wanted to fulfill his late father’s dream of immigrating to Israel.

“My father planned to make Aliyah [immigrate to Israel], but unfortunately he died of a heart attack four years ago at age 54 and didn’t manage to see his dream through. It was a very difficult time for me, which made me want to make aliyah and fulfill my father’s dream even more,” he said.

Two and a half years ago, Weinberg arrived in Israel and studied Hebrew before enlisting in the IDF, determined to serve in a combat unit.

According to Israel Hayom, Weinberg refused to budge from the IDF’s main enlistment office until he was cleared to start basic training with the Givati Brigade.

Last week, he received the purple Givati beret after a final induction march at the end of basic training. Weinberg said he was moved to tears by the sight of his mother, Silvie, who came to Israel from Paris to attend the ceremony.

“I was very touched that my mother came to Israel for three days just to be with me at the ceremony,” he said.

He added, “We only had one day together before she went back. I’m happy about what I’m doing, at peace with my choice, and happy that my mother, who stayed in Paris with my sister, supports me.”


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