October 20, 2019

Germany ‘Must Protect Jewish Life,’ Its President Says At Site of Attack Near Synagogue

HALLE, GERMANY - OCTOBER 10: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier gives a statement next to Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt Reiner Haseloff (R) in front of the Jewish synagogue on October 10, 2019 in Halle, Germany. Law enforcement authorities, after initially speaking of multiple attackers, are now referring to a single attacker who has been apprehended. A video, apparently streamed by the attacker live and with commentary from the shooting spree, shows him attempt and fail to force his way into the synagogue in Halle. He then, using what he describes as an improvised weapon, shoots a woman happening to pass by his car on the street and drives to a nearby kebab shop, where he shoots a man inside several times. Afterwards he fires at police blocking a street ahead of him, only to be wounded by returned fire. Towards the end of the video he states that he is bleeding and that he has been shot, and calls himself a ìcomplete loserî in an apparent apology to his perceived audience for not delivering the ìactionî he had anticipated. According to media reports the attacker has been identified as 27-year-old Stephan B. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

(JTA) — President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany said the state “must protect Jewish life” in the aftermath of a shooting attack near a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

On Thursday, Steinmeier visited the site of a right-wing extremist’s attack that left two dead — in front of a nearby Jewish cemetery and one at a Turkish kebab restaurant. The gunman was prevented from entering the synagogue by its secure metal doors.

Steinmeier met with Jewish leaders at the synagogue in Halle, in eastern Germany.

“It must be clear that the state takes responsibility for Jewish life, for the security of Jewish life in Germany,” he told them, according to reports.

Local officials, and Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, also visited the site with the president.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the attack.

“The representatives of the constitutional state must use all means available against hate, violence and misanthropy. There is zero tolerance,” she said Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Merkel joined a solidarity vigil at a historic synagogue in central Berlin, where she also condemned the attack and asserted that Germany would protect the Jewish community, AFP reported.

“My aim, and that of all politicians, is to do everything to ensure you can live safely,” the chancellor said. “And this day shows that it hasn’t been enough, that we have to do more.”