PM: German synagogue attack is expression of rising anti-Semitism in Europe

PM: German synagogue attack is expression of rising anti-Semitism in Europe

Merkel condemns attack, expresses ‘solidarity for all Jews’; Rivlin: ‘stunned and pained by terrible anti-Semitic murders’; Gantz: Berlin must increase fight against Jew hatred

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting of Likud party members at the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 3, 2019. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting of Likud party members at the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 3, 2019. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Moments after the end of Yom Kippur, Israeli leaders expressed shock and outrage over the deadly attack Wednesday targeting a synagogue in the German city of Halle.

“The terror attack against the community in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day for our people, is another expression of the rising anti-Semitism in Europe,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, moments after the holy day ended in Israel (while it was still ongoing in Germany).

“In the name of the Israeli people I send condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured,” he went on. “I call on the German authorities to continue to act determinedly against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.”

President Reuven Rivlin said he was “stunned and pained by the terrible anti-Semitic murders in Germany” that were committed during the holiest and most important day of the year for all Jews around the world. He called on German leaders and the entire free world to bring the full force of law against anti-Semitism and its results.

“We will continue to campaign for education and remembrance in the fight against anti-Semitism which raises its head again and again in Europe and across the world, based on the clear understanding that it is not a problem of the Jews alone, but threatens to destroy us all,” the president said.

Policemen are seen behind gravestones of a Jewish cemetery close to the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, on October 9, 2019 (Sebastian Willnow / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening also released a statement expressing “shock” at the attack, noting that it continues to “follow developments with concern.”

A few minutes later, Foreign Minister Israel Katz took to Twitter to express his “deep shock” at the attack, saying it was “reminiscent of dark periods in Jewish history.” Katz, too, urged Berlin to do more to fight Jew hatred.

Numerous Israeli politicians, including opposition leader Benny Gantz, also released statements of condolences and calls on Berlin to increase its fight against Jew hatred.

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz delivers a statement to the press in Tel Aviv on September 26, 2019. (Avshalom Shoshoni/Flash90)

“This incident, rooted in anti-Semitism, on the holiest day for the Jewish people, is one of many attacks against Jews throughout the world in recent weeks. It highlights the need for the international community to combat anti-Semitism – anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist movements alike,” Gantz said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the deadly shooting, her spokesman said, adding an expression of “solidarity for all Jews on the holy day of Yom Kippur.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU summit in Brussels on June 21, 2019. (AP/Olivier Matthys)

Merkel had “deep sympathy” for the victims’ loved ones, government spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted, adding the veteran chancellor’s “thanks to all the security forces who are still on the scene.”

The US Embassy in Berlin tweeted its condemnation of the attack as well. “This attack is an attack on all of us and the perpetrators must be held accountable. We mourn the victims of this senseless violence,” the tweet read.

The embassy announced that 10 Americans were in the synagogue at the time of the attack.

On Monday, the Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned German authorities for “negligence” after it released a man who attempted to run into a synagogue armed with a knife in central Berlin on Friday evening.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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