Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin were among leaders in Israel and abroad who reacted Sunday to a deadly shooting a day earlier at a US Chabad synagogue in Poway, California.
Local authorities say 19-year-old John Earnest opened fire with an assault rifle on worshipers during morning services on the last day of Passover, killing 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounding three people: the rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein; Israeli Noya Dahan, 8, who was hit by shrapnel in the face and leg; and her uncle Almog Peretz, 31, who was shot in the leg. All three are in stable condition.
The attack happened exactly six months after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.
“I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We send condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and our best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. The international community must step up the struggle against anti-Semitism.”
In light of an upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks around the world, Netanyahu “will this week convene a special discussion of all elements dealing with the issue,” the Prime Minister’s Office added.
Rivlin said he was “shocked and grieved” to learn about the shooting.
“The murderous attack on the Jewish community during Passover, our holiday of freedom, and just before Holocaust Memorial Day, is yet another painful reminder that anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews is still with us, everywhere,” he said in a statement.
“No country and no society are immune. Only through education for Holocaust remembrance and tolerance can we deal with this plague,” Rivlin said.
Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the shooting a terrorist attack.
“Israel is sorrowful about the horrible terrorist attack at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, where Lori Gilbert-Kaye lost her life,” he said in a statement. “Our hearts and prayers are with Lori’s family and with the wounded. We are here to assist the local Jewish community however and whenever necessary.”
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau said the attack “joins a series of recent anti-Semitic incidents against Jewish sites around the world. Again we witness the actions of extremists, who do not represent the sane majority. This is the time to strengthen Chabad emissaries around the world, who give their lives, literally, to spread Judaism across the globe.”
Speaking to supporters at a rally in Wisconsin, US President Donald Trump on Saturday said “America’s heart is with the victims of the horrific synagogue shooting in California. Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate which must be defeated.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the shooting “an attack on us all.”
“On the last day of Passover, we are once again faced with appalling reports of an anti-Semitic hate crime,” he said in a statement. “The attack on the Chabad of Poway Synagogue is an attack on all of us. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased and with the wounded.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also extended condolences to Gilbert-Kaye’s family and wished the wounded a speedy recovery on behalf of Israel’s parliament.
“We will continue to combat anti-Semitism in all its form and everywhere it rears its head,” he said on Twitter.
“On the same week on which we mark Holocaust Memorial Day, anti-Semitism again rears its ugly head and claims new victims,” said Benny Gantz, head of the main opposition party, Blue and White. “To all those who threaten the Jewish people wherever it settles we should stand defiantly and say: No more.”
Blue and White’s No. 2, Yair Lapid, called the shooting “a despicable hate crime.”
“World leaders must condemn and deal with anti-Semitism before it results in murder,” he said in a tweet. “Every sign, every post, every anti-Semitic remark requires treatment as if it were actual physical violence.”