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October 28, 2018 10:19 am

Israel Calls for Unity in Fight Against Antisemitism After Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

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Israeli government ministers stand for a moment of silence at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO.

Israeli government ministers held a moment of silence on Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, a day after 11 Jews were slain by a white supremacist gunman at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the people who were murdered in the shocking massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “On behalf of myself, the government of Israel and the people of Israel, from the depth of our hearts, I send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. We all pray for the swift recovery of the wounded.”

“It is very difficult to exaggerate the horror of the murder of Jews who had gathered in a synagogue on Shabbat and were murdered just because they were Jews,” Netanyahu continued. “Israel stands at the forefront with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, with all Jewish communities in the US and with the American people. We stand together, at the forefront, against antisemitism and displays of such barbarity.”

“I call upon the whole world to unite in the fight against antisemitism everywhere. Today, regretfully, we refer to the United States, where the largest antisemitic crime in its history took place, but we also mean, of course, Western Europe, where there is a tough struggle against the manifestations of a new antisemitism. Of course there is also the old and familiar anti-Semitism, and that of radical Islam. On all these fronts we must stand up and fight back against this brutal fanaticism. It starts with the Jews, but never ends with the Jews,” the prime minister concluded.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Saturday he would fly to Pittsburgh to “be with our sisters and brothers on their darkest hour.”

“When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel the pain,” he said.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, “We are thinking of the families of those murdered and praying for the quick recovery of those injured. I am sure that the law enforcement and legal authorities in the US will investigate this horrific event thoroughly and that justice will be served on the despicable murderer.”

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said, “Our hearts are with you our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.”

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also expressed solidarity with the shooting victims.

Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan quickly traveled to Pittsburgh and arrived at the site of the attack.

“I came here to be with our brothers and sisters during this tragic hour,” he said. “An anti-Semitic event — even if thousands of kilometers from Jerusalem — is a local event for the State of Israel.”

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