By. D. Bender
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday described as “heroic” the attempt by 22-year-old Yohan Cohen to protect a toddler and thwart the terror shooting spree at a Paris kosher supermarket last Friday, Israel’s Ch. 2 News reported.
Cohen, an employee at the HyperCacher kosher supermarket in the city’s Porte de Vincennes neighborhood, was shot dead as he tried to protect a three-year-old and fire a gun that the Muslim terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, had laid on a counter.
Coulibaly, who was armed with several weapons, shot Cohen dead as he tried to operate the jammed weapon, killed three other shoppers, and critically wounded another four.
“Your son was a hero,” Bennett told Cohen’s father, Eric, at a condolence call with the mourning family, held in the suburb of Sarcelle.
“A young man took the assault rifle and wanted to shoot him,” a hostage who gave her name as Sophie, told Europe 1 radio. Coulibaly, however, “was faster and he shot him in the throat. The poor young man just fell,” she said, according to AFP.
After a seven-hour standoff, French security forces broke into the store and shot the terrorist dead as he tried to flee, and freed the nearly 20 hostages.
“All of Israel is sending you a big hug and love; we are proud of the education you gave him,” Bennett said.
Bennett told the family that their slain son represented a link in a heroic historic chain of the people of Israel, “from Abraham, through Moses, Bar Kochba and Yoni Netanyahu.”
Bennett, speaking as a representative of the Jewish State, added, “We are proud that you gave Yohan the education that brought him to be a hero.”
Yohan’s girlfriend, Sharon, wrote several heartbreaking farewell remarks on her Facebook page.
“What will I do without you?” she wrote. “We had made so many plans together. I will never forget our time together; you will forever be the man of my life.” A family member said Cohen worked at the supermarket for the last year in order to finance their wedding.
Cohen, along with Yoav Hattab, 21; Philippe Braham, 40; and François-Michel Saada, 55, were laid to rest in a state funeral held in Jerusalem on Tuesday, attended by family, friends, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and other dignitaries, along with about a thousand mourners.
Watch the video of the meeting between Bennett and Eric Cohen (in Hebrew) HERE.