Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Yaacov Bar-simantov, 42, an Israeli Diplomat, Murdered by a Terrorist

April 5, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Yaacov Bar-Simantov an Israeli diplomat, was fatally shot outside his home here yesterday. His assailant, described as a young woman wearing a white beret, escaped into a subway entrance after being chased by the diplomat’s 17-year-old son, Avi, who witnessed the shooting.

Bar-Simantov, 42, who was second secretary in charge of political affairs at the Israel Embassy, died while being administered to by a mobile intensive care unit rushed to the scene. He had lived in Paris about two years on his first diplomatic assignment overseas.

Israel’s Ambassador to France, Meir Rosenne, denounced the Palestine Liberation Organization for “the ruthless killing” and also blamed “countries which extend diplomatic recognition” to the PLO.

The shooting took place shortly before noon as Bar-Simantov, his wife and eight-year-old daughter Penina were returning from a shopping trip to their home on Avenue Ferdinand Buisson in the fashionable 16th District near the Bois de Boulogne. Witnesses said the assailant fired five bullets into the diplomat’s head and chest.

Police said today that they had a composite picture of the killer based on information supplied by the victim’s son. She was described as being in her mid-twenties. According to police, the diplomat’s son told them he had almost caught up with the fleeing assailant when she turned her gun on him and warned, “Another step and I shall shoot you as well.”


The murder occurred only three days after masked men fired automatic weapons at the Israel Trade Mission which occupies an annex to the Israel Embassy here. No one was hurt in that incident and the gunmen escaped in a car.

Police did not immediately link the killing of Bar-Simantov with the attack on the Trade Mission. But they said it paralleled the assassination three months ago of an assistant military attache at the U.S. Embassy, Lt. Col. Charles Ray. Police said the same technique was used in both assaults.

Yesterday afternoon, a hitherto unknown Palestinian group based in Beirut claimed credit for killing Bar-Simantov, saying it was an act “of vengeance for the Zionist-Imperialist aggression against south Lebanon.”

Responsibility for the attack on the Trade Mission was taken last week by a group calling itself the “Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions.” The same group took credit for the murder of Ray.

Bar-Simantov was the first Israeli diplomat murdered in France. Israeli diplomats have been slain by Palestinian terrorists in other West European capitals.


President Francios Mitterrand, in a message to President Yitzhak Novon of Israel, promised that France will “do all it can” to find and bring to trial the murderer. Ambassador Rosenne called on all democratic governments to “extradite to Israel the killers so that they can be tried and punished for their deeds.” He also urged “all of Israel’s friends to remember that whenever they raise their hands in favor of the PLO at the United Nation or elsewhere, this is the result.”

Meanwhile, Bar-Simantov’s body lay in state at the Israel Embassy this morning where a small crowd gathered for memorial services. Chief Rabbi Rene Sirat of France recited the kaddish. The family was to depart for Israel this afternoon and special security precautions were taken to protect them at the airport.

Recommended from JTA