Israelis from all walks of life expressed sorrow over the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and support for the Jewish community.
By: United with Israel Staff
Israel’s leadership continued to express sorrow and dismay over the anti-Semitic massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Lifee Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday while voicing support for the Jewish community.
Shortly after the shooting, an Israeli National Service volunteer at the Jewish community in Pennsylvania issued a passionate statement calling on Jews from Israel and all over the world to send pictures of reinforcement and support.
To show their firm support, Jews from Israel and around the world began posting pictures in solidarity with the members of the community who are suffering from this terrible anti-Semitic attack.
In Jerusalem, hundreds of youth gathered near City Hall on Sunday night to hold a vigil and show their support and love for the Jews of Pittsburgh.
The Jerusalem municipality displayed messages of solidarity with Pittsburgh on the Old City’s walls Sunday evening with the flags of Israel and the US and with the inscription ‘We are with you – Pittsburgh!”
‘Our Whole Nation Feels Your Pain’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday spoke by telephone with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and expressed his condolences while saying that the entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the people who were murdered.
Israeli Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett flew to Pittsburgh in the capacity as an official emissary of the Government of Israel, to offer strength and support to the Jewish community following the terrible tragedy.
He met with leaders of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and wider American Jewry, as well as with Governor Wolf, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, as well as Members of Congress representing the state.
In an emotional meeting, Bennett sat with Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, the leader of the Tree of Life congregation which was attacked, who managed to help usher some of his congregants to safety.
Bennett told the leaders of the Pittsburgh community that “our whole nation is feeling the pain you are feeling here after this heinous hate crime. I want to extend my condolences to the families of the victims.”
He added that “people who have seen so much in their lives could not imagine they would be gunned down in Shabbat prayer.”
Bennett visited the site of the attack and met with the Israeli ZAKA and other emergency crews, who had helped the local police, whom he also thanked for their bravery during the rescue efforts.
Light will Defeat Darkness
Addressing a vigil attended by more than 4,000 from the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the city, including the governor and mayor, senators, congressmen, as well as President Trump’s Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, and New York Israel Consul General Danny Dayan, Bennett said that while “we stand in the shadow of death,” he “didn’t see death” during his meetings in Pittsburgh.
“|I saw life, strength. I saw a warm community, of love and unity. I saw the Tree of Life, which will never be uprooted by hatred,” he stated.
“We stand together, as Jews from all communities united, as well as members of all faiths. Together we stand. Americans, Israelis. People who are together saying, ‘no’ to hatred,” he stated.
He stressed that “nearly eighty years since Kristallnacht, when the Jews of Europe perished in the flames of their houses of worship, one thing is clear. Anti-Semitism, Jew hating, is not a distant memory. Anti-Semitism is a clear and present danger. 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.”
Stressing the shared values that bonded the American and Israeli peoples together, the Israeli Minister concluded by stating that “freedom will overcome. Unity will defeat division. Love will defeat hatred. Light will defeat darkness. Am Yisrael Chai.”
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