Israeli Minister Tells Mourners in Pittsburg: Jew Hatred is not a ‘Distant Memory’



October 29, 2018 1:07 pm Published by

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli leaders stepped in to comfort and console American Jews after a gunman massacred 11 members of the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) synagogue in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning.

The Jerusalem municipality lit up the Old City walls with American and Israeli flags in support of American Jewry.

In a videotaped message to an interfaith memorial service on Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said it’s hard to understand how such “hatred and evil rose up.”

“I feel your pain today and with me is the entire Jewish people. It is hard for us to believe, hard for us to understand, how hatred and evil rose up, to damage and to uproot the Tree of Life [synagogue],” Rivlin said.

It was the worst attack against the Jewish community in US history.

“We must say loud and clear – this was an act of anti-Semitism,” Rivlin said. “Our brothers and sisters, friends and family, were murdered because they were Jews.

At least 2,000 mourners who packed the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburg stood up to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish mourners’ prayer, with President Rivlin. The Kaddish expresses praise to God even during loss.

Israel sent Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett to console the community shortly after the attack.

Bennett told the crowd that hating Jews is not a “distant memory.”

“From Sderot to Pittsburgh, the hand that fires missiles is the same hand that shoots worshipers. We will fight against the hatred of Jews and anti-Semitism wherever it raises its head. And we will prevail,” he said.

Uncharacteristically, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar all issued statements condemning the attack. Even the Palestinian Authority – known for calling for the murder of Jews in Israel – referred to it as an “act of terrorism.”

Back home, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers opened their weekly cabinet meeting with a minute of silence. Netanyahu issued a call for the whole world to unite to fight anti-Semitism in every form.

“We must stand and fight back against all these fronts, against this zealous brutal [anti-Semitism], which starts with Jews and never ends with the Jews,” Netanyahu said.

Shortly after the attack, Netanyahu released a video in English summing up Israeli sentiments.

“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. We stand together with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality and we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded,” he said.

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