Following the horrific shooting attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a condolence message to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh that also expressed thanks for Israel’s friends as part of the fight against anti-Semitism. The Washington Post reported that 11 were killed and six wounded by a suspect Robert Bowers, who reportedly screamed anti-Semitic slurs during the attack and afterwards said he just wanted to “kill Jews.”
Netanyahu called the violence “the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history” and said that this is a “particularly heinous crime that we in Israel have unfortunately experienced as well.” Netanyahu wasn’t alone in Israel responding to the attack. Statements were released from the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, President Reuven Rivlin and others. The Israeli government cabinet meeting observed a minute of silence before Sunday’s meeting in memory of those killed, according to an Israeli press release on the meeting.
Said Netanyahu, whose letter was published by his office, “While these attacks are nothing new in the history of our people, what is new is our ability to fight back against the anti-Semites. Israel does that every day. But the Jewish people are also blessed to have many friends around the word who reject and fight anti-Semitism.”
Netanyahu went on to thank US President Donald Trump for “unequivocally condemning this heinous crime and for pledging to fight those who seek to destroy the Jewish people.” The Israeli premier said that “clear condemnations” have also been heard from leaders around the world.
The White House website noted that President Trump ordered American flags to be flown at half-mast in response to the attack. He also commented on the violence on Twitter: “This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”
Said Netanyahu of the support from world leaders, “These statements are important. So too are actions that governments take to protect their Jewish citizens, whether that means providing security for vulnerable Jewish communities to passing tough laws against hate crimes.”
The details of Saturday’s crime highlighted the hate motivating it. The Washington Post reported that the assault came against worshippers on the Sabbath and that nine of the dead were 65-years-old or older.
“After the Holocaust, many hoped that anti-Semitism would finally be relegated to the dustbin of history. It wasn’t,” said Netanyahu. “In fact, in the past couple of decades, anti-Semitism has emerged once again as a potent and deadly force… I know that the Pittsburgh Jewish community is strong and proud, and I have no doubt that in the wake of this horrific attack that community will emerge stronger and prouder than ever.”
Concluding his message, Netanyahu quoted from a traditional Jewish prayer for those who have lost loved ones.
Said the Israeli leader, “In this hour of immense grief, the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and all Americans who mourn today should know that the Jewish state mourns with you. May the families of all those who died be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 28, 2018)