Recalling the Holocaust, President Reuven Rivlin said on Tuesday evening that Israel cannot remain indifferent to the gassing of Syrian civilians, and offered to help survivors of the civil war there.
“We, as a people who survived the greatest of atrocities and rose from the ashes to be a strong and secure nation, we will do all we can to continue to aid the survivors of the horrors in Syria,” the president said in a statement. “We know all too well how dangerous silence can be, and we cannot remain mute.”
Earlier on Tuesday, reports surfaced of an aerial attack with chemical weapons, apparently carried out by the Syrian regime, on the northern city of Idlib, which killed scores of civilians, among them many children.
Footage of people and children choking on what appears to be sarin gas prompted outrage across the globe. Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum condemned the attack and called on the international community to act.
“The pictures we are seeing today from Syria and the reports of the massacre of children, of civilians, with chemical weapons, is a stain on all humanity,” Rivlin said in his statement. “The international community in its entirety must come together to bring an end to this murderous madness, and ensure that such scenes will never be repeated anywhere.”
The president went on to urge the leaders of the world’s greatest powers to “act now, without delay, to stop these criminal, murderous acts taking place in Syria by the hand of the Assad regime, and to work urgently to remove all stockpiles of chemical weapons from Syrian territory.”
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon joined the president in calling for Israel to take action and said Israel had the resources to do so.
“Genocide is ongoing in Syria,” Kahlon said. “The slaughter directed against children demands uncompromising action by the world for the destruction of the Assad regime.”
“Israel, the state of the Jewish people, must take moral responsibility and open its gates to treat children who are victims of genocide. Neither resources nor moral determination are lacking for this,” he said.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked urged US President Donald Trump to take action to stop the horror. “Syria’s use of chemical weapons has strategic connotations for Israel,” she also said.
Western powers and human rights groups fingered Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad as responsible for the attack, though Damascus denied it used chemical weapons. The US administration on Tuesday evening condemned the attack and blamed former president Barack Obama’s inaction regarding the Syrian use of chemical warfare for emboldening Assad. It did not, however, propose a course of action that would prevent Damascus from continuing to gas its own people.