JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s cabinet stood for a moment’s silence on Sunday to honor 11 worshippers killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended U.S. President Donald Trump for his stance against anti-Semitism.
“The entire nation of Israel mourns with the families of the murdered in the horrendous massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet session.
Saturday’s shooting “is the biggest anti-Semitic crime” in the annals of the United States, he said, calling on the world to unite in the fight against anti-Semitism everywhere.
“It is hard to overstate the horror of the murder of Jews who congregate on the Sabbath and who were murdered only because they were Jews,” Netanyahu added.
A gunman yelling, “All Jews must die,” stormed the Tree of Life synagogue during Jewish sabbath services, killing 11 worshippers and wounding six others, including four police officers, before he was arrested.
“On my behalf, on behalf of the government of Israel and the nation of Israel I convey our heartfelt condolences to the families that have lost dear ones. We all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded,” Netanyahu said.
In an open letter to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, the Israeli prime minister voiced his “appreciation to President Trump for unequivocally condemning this heinous crime and for pledging to fight those who seek to destroy the Jewish people”.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry issued a statement describing the shooting as an “act of terrorism that targeted a synagogue ... in which American Jews and policemen were killed.”
It added: “We condemn the targeting of places of worship by terrorists motivated by odious, fascist beliefs based on the supremacy of the white race.”
Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Matthew Mpoke Bigg