Joseph Sitruk, former Chief Rabbi of France, opinioned: “In France, there will be a before Ilan Halimi and an after Ilan Halimi.”


Like every Friday night, Ilan Halimi had dinner at his mother’s. He then went out on a date. From there, he set out for a Paris suburb. Once he reached his destination, four thugs pulled him out of his car, beat him to a pulp, knocked him unconscious, and threw him in the trunk of a car.


Sequestered and tortured for 24 straight days, Ilan was found on the morning of February 12, 2006, bleeding beside a railway line. He died in the ambulance before reaching the hospital. He was 24 years old.


Before becoming a national concern, this kidnapping story is a police story that plays out almost entirely within the walls of the national police headquarters. With its twists and turns, suspense, and the occasional erring ways of the men in blue, the main thread in this story is the tenacious, nearly superhuman, will of France’s crime squad to bust the case at all costs and free the young man from his kidnappers. Ultimately, the police fail. And miserably. The terrible loss haunts the investigators still today.