Israel’s cabinet stood for a moment’s silence on Sunday to honor the victims of a synagogue shooting that killed at least 11 worshippers in Pittsburgh.
“The entire nation of Israel mourns with the families of the murdered in the horrendous massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet session. This shooting “is the biggest anti-Semitic crime” in the annals of the United States, he said, calling on the world to unite in the fight against anti-Semitism everywhere.
“It is hard to overstate the horror of the murder of Jews who congregate on the Sabbath and who were murdered only because they were Jews,” PM Netanyahu added.
“On my behalf, on behalf of the government of Israel and the nation of Israel, I convey our heartfelt condolences to the families that have lost dear ones. We all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded,” Netanyahu said.
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef said he was “horrified to hear of the murder of innocent Jews in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, simply for being Jews by a despicable murderer steeped in anti-Semitic hate. My heart is with the bereaved families and all our Jewish brethren who reside in the United States. Sadly, anti-Semitism is again rearing its head of late in the United States.”
Chief of Yerushalayim Rabbi Aryeh Stern wrote a letter to the bereaved families, saying that “we were shocked to hear of the tragedy that struck in the midst of Shabbat by a low murderer acting from hatred of Jews.
“Unfortunately we are not surprised by the outbursts of hatred that come at times in Israel and at times in the Diaspora. But we must know that our strength is in our unity. Unity born of true love that will prove to the entire world that we are not broken and we have not given up but are rather strengthened and invigorated.
“‘For the L-rd shall not leave His nation, and his inheritance He shall not abandon‘; We wish to console the bereaved families with the consolation of Zion and Jerusalem; remember that the murder targeted the victims only because of their Jewishness, and their souls join the list of all the holy martyrs who sanctified the Name of Heaven in their deaths and they will never be forgotten forever.
“May you and we together be strengthened,” he concluded, as reported by Arutz Sheva.
Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center lowered its flags to half-staff for a week. The hospital’s director Prof. Rafi Beyar, who is visiting Pennsylvania this week, called the attack “a horrible anti-Semitic act, senseless and soaked in hate, directed at hurting Jews and all lovers of humanity.”
The Hatzalah emergency medical organization announced that it is sending a team with experts in emotional trauma to the stricken community in Pittsburgh, with funding from the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the shooting as an “act of terrorism that targeted a synagogue … in which American Jews and policemen were killed.”
It added: “We condemn the targeting of places of worship by terrorists motivated by odious, fascist beliefs based on the supremacy of the white race.”