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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA J EWISH NEWS, APRIL 21, 2017 Cnaan Liphshiz Avi Attlan, kneeling, teaching Krav Maga to students in Saint Mande, March 23, 2017. By Cnaan Liphshiz PARIS (JTA)--In a dark alley in a poor suburb of this city, five men with violence on their minds closed in fast on 17-year-old Netanel Azoulay and his older brother, Yaakov. "Dirty Jews, you're going to die!" one man yelled. The driving dispute quickly transformed into something physical, with one of the assailants wielding a saw. Azoulay--who, along with his brother, wears a kippah-- nearly lost his finger and had his shoulder dislocated before passers-by broke up the brawl. The Feb. 21 incident in Bondy was one of dozens of anti-Semitic assaults-- among hundreds of less violent episodes--recorded annually in the Paris region. This altercation, however, was particularly shocking because of its bloodiness, and how it illustrated how quickly harassment can lead to bloodshed. ButAzoulay's injuries could have been worse. Azoulay has a brown belt in Krav Contact, a variant of Krav Maga, the self- defense martial art developed in Israel. And, in fact, he has been training for such a mo- ment for years. "I think Krav saved our lives," said Azoulay, who started training as a child, like his brother, in order to defend himself on Bondy's rough streets. Azoulay's father is a Krav Contact instructor, and the family was an early adopter of the method when it was still largely unknown in France. Over the past decade, however, thousands of French Jews-- and some non-Jews, too-- have turned to Krav Maga amid a wave of intimidation and violence on the streets of France's major cities. "There's an explosion in the popularity of Krav Maga," said Avi Attlan, one of the tech- nique's pioneers in France. Ten years ago, it was taught at a handful of Jewish schools in the Paris area, he said. Today, Krav Maga is taught in at least 20 Jewish schools, including many belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch educa- tional network. Jewish sum- mer camps have also recently begun to offer lessons. Attlan and the Krav Maga masters in his employ teach approximately 200 trainees in five venues across Paris. A decade ago he had about 40 students, Attlan said. In 2013, France had its first Krav Maga championship; it's now an annual event. "To me, Krav Maga is a sport and a way of life," said Attlan, an Algeria native in his 60s who stands 5-foot-4. He said "it became a surviv- al tool" for French Jews with the increase of anti-Semitic violence following the second intifada in 2000--incidents in France that year rose from several dozen annually to hundreds. A sense of insecurity is what inspired Laurent Kachauda to start Krav Maga training 15 years ago with Attlan in Saint Mande, the upscale Paris suburb where an Islamist assailant killed four Jews at a kosher shop in January 2015. "Someone carved a swas- tika on my locker in high school," recalled Kachauda, a 30-year-old accountant. "I realized someone was watching me and that they might one day attack. So I looked up Krav Maga in- structors." Kachauda was one of 12 students at Attlan's lesson last week at a gym in Saint Mande located just 300 yards from the site of the supermarket attack. The pupils--mostly Jews ranging in age from 17 to 50--practiced moves in pairs and threes. In the aftermath of the deadly attack, leaders of the sizable Saint Mande Jewish community reached out to synagogue goers, recom- mending they learn to defend themselves. Jewish communi- ties across the country mir- rored the awareness-raising campaign. In some communities, rab- bis recommended Krav Maga training. In others, members of the SPCJ, the security unit of French Jewry that also trains in Krav Maga, held workshops to give members a taste of the technique. One of Attlan's students-- Jordan Ctorza, 17--needed no convincing to sign on. "I already wanted to be able to defend myself when they talked to us about Krav Maga at the synagogue," he said. During the lesson, Attlan paired Ctorza with Sylvie, a non-Jewish resident of Saint Mande. Sylvie, a woman in her 30s who declined to state her last name, signed up for Krav Maga lessons "because the streets are not so safe for anyone, and especially as a woman," she told JTA during a water break. She rejoined the group as Attlan gave rapid instructions in a hushed voice. Encourag- ing students to "hit faster" or "close up those exposed areas," he discouraged them from chatting or giggling "We don't talk--we hit, we block," he said. To Ctorza and many other Jewish Krav Maga trainees, the Israeli connection to the technique--part of the basic training for Israeli soldiers-- makes for an emotional at- tachment. "It means a lot to me that it's something developed by my people for my people," the teen said. But Krav Maga offers ad- vantages that appeal also to non-Jews in France, where hundreds have died since 2012 in a series of terrorist attacks inwhich Jewswere not specifi- cally targeted. "Krav Maga is unlike kara- te, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts in that it has no rules," said a Muslim Krav Maga instructor who works in the impoverished suburb of Saint Denis, north of Paris .He asked to w hold his name, citing safety reasons. "It's suitable for the urban reality because it's totally utilitarian," he added. "It's designed to neutralize an attacker. No bows, no nice- ties. Only whatever it takes to thwart an attack. Kicks to the groin--fine. Thumbs to the eyes--sure. Whacks to the neck why not." The Arab instructor, who is in his 50s, said he left Saint Denis for a safer suburb 20 years ago following a brawl he had with drug addicts. He recalled assaulting them near a playground where his 18-month-old son had just found a used syringe in a sandbox. But the instructor, who has eight siblings in Saint Denis, keeps returning to teach Krav Maga to at-risk youth. "It prevents bullying and helps instill discipline and confidence," he said. Martial arts, including Krav Maga, "got me out of this place, where 80 percent of my high school friends are now dead," he said. "I hope to put others on that path, as well." The Muslim instructor teaches his students about the Israeli origins of the method and uses its Hebrew-language terminology, "even though many of them have a negative image of Israel," he said. "Religion stays outside the ring; there's a mosque for that," he said. "Politics stay outside the ring; there are debate clubs and youth move- ments for that." A fifth of his 80 students are women, he said. He does not train children or "people likely to abuse the weapon I teach them." Back in Bondy, Azoulay plans to resume his Krav Con- tact training once his hand is fully recovered. Surviving : the attack showed him he has "what it takes to keep myself safe," he But the inident's em6- tional effects linger, he adds. "It didn't make me afraid, but it made me uncomfort- able," AzoulaYsaid. "I decided after the attack that I want to leave this country. Maybe for Israel, maybe go to the United States." Paul Miller A poster for Leon Kanner and Edward Joffe, Palestinian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh's victims, at a memorial service Sunday in Chicago. By Paul Miller Anti-lsrael activists gath- ered Sunday inside the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago to hear a discussion featuring convicted Palestin- ian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh. Unbeknownst to Odeh and the attendees of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) conference, while she was receiving a standing ovation, a memorial service for her victims was in progress just a few floors above. Being remembered were Edward Joffe and Leon Kan- ner, two friends who had been studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, until their lives ended in February 1969 in a Jerusalem supermarket bombing masterminded by Odeh for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group. Odeh's star has been on the rise in left-wing po- litical circles. In January, she shared a stage with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D- Ill.) during an immigration travel ban protest at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Last month, she was a co-organizer for the "Day Without a Woman" march. When the pro-Israel edu- cation organization Stand- WithUs inquired with Hyatt about renting space to hold a multi-faith memorial service for Odeh's victims, the hotel responded, "Your request has been denied," claiming it needed permis- sion from JVP. Refusing to take no for an answer, StandWithUs Mid- west Director Peggy Shapiro took matters into her own hands. "Sometimes things are just too important to be eas- ily dissuaded," Shapiro told the Haym Salomon Center. "When something really mat- ters, you don't just give up. If you allow history and memory to be distorted or erased--and not just the story of these two boys, which is tragic enough--it dishonors the memory of all terror victims in the past and increases the threat to all terror victims in the future." After Hyatt refused to rent space, StandWithUs began exploring other options. Shapiro and her staff booked a suite at the hotel and began inviting clergy of different faiths as well as local sup- porters to attend. An exact location and room number would not be made available to attendees until two hours before the start. About 40 people attended the service--near capacity for the room. Attendees were greeted by private security professionals and StandWi- thUs staffers. "Today we gather to remem- ber Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, their lives cut short and their futures denied," Shapiro said. "We will hear from their siblings, who today are grandparents. Who knows what Edward and Leon would have been, who knows what gifts they and their children could have given to the world. Theywere robbed of their lives and futures by a killer who is speaking at this very moment and at this very venue. She continued, "Let me tell you a bit about Jewish Voice for Peace, whose conference is taking place next to us. This group, funded by the Rock- efeller Brothers Foundation, is listed as one of the 10 most anti-Israel groups in the na- tion. They and the killer they are featuring are now trying to repress our memories of the victims. In fact, they tried to prevent this memorial. That is why we must remember them for their sake and for ours. Simply put, there is too much at stake. This is not only about the memory of two young men, but about the memory of a people. In remembering Leon and Edward, we are de- fending memory itself." Letters from the families of Joffe and Kanner were read aloud. StandWithUs Midwest Campus Coordinator Sebas- tian Parra read a letter of gratitude and remembrance from Joffe's brother. Stand- WithUs Midwest High School Coordinator Vida Velasco read words written by Kanner's sister at a memorial held years earlier in Israel. Clergy from various Chris- tian denominations took part in the service. Pentecostal Pastor Wesley Shaw recited Psalm 116 and declared, "Israel, we have your back. There are millions of Pentecostals worldwide, say- ing in unison, 'Never again!'" Evangelical Pastor Levi Last Word on page 15A