Jerusalem’s Chords Bridge was lit up to show the Japanese flag alongside the Israeli flag on Sunday evening as a sign of solidarity with the Japanese people following last week’s assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
“The city of Jerusalem sends its condolences to the Japanese people and mourns the death of a friend of Israel, a great leader of his people and the entire world,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said in a statement.
Abe was shot from behind minutes after he started a speech Friday in Nara in western Japan. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital.
The 67-year-old Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down for health reasons two years ago. He served in 2006-2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.
Israeli leaders were quick to express their shock and condolences on Friday at the assassination of the former Japanese prime minister.
“On behalf of the government and people of Israel, I send my condolences to the Japanese people and their government on the tragic death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. “Abe was one of the most important leaders of modern Japan, and a true friend of Israel who brought about flourishing and prosperous relations between Israel and Japan.”
עיריית ירושלים האירה את גשר המיתרים בדגל יפן, לאות הזדהות על הירצחו של ראש הממשלה לשעבר שינזו אבה pic.twitter.com/ARVPtPSs28
— Dikla cohen (@MaropanitCohen) July 11, 2022
President Isaac Herzog said he was “horrified by the despicable murder” of Abe, whom he called “one of Japan’s most preeminent leaders in modern times.”
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met several times with Abe while both were in office, expressed condolences on behalf of “all citizens of Israel.”
Netanyahu called Abe a “great leader of Japan and a huge friend of Israel,” adding that he “will always remember him with great appreciation and recognition of the brave friendship between us.”
In recent years, more Israeli landmarks have adopted the custom of lighting up to show solidarity with other countries or mark major world events.
In 2020, Tel Aviv’s city hall lit up in the colors of the Lebanese flag as an expression of solidarity with the Lebanese people after a massive explosion in Beirut’s port.
Agencies and Amy Spiro contributed to this report.