Jewish Groups Mourn Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

July 9, 2022
Statesmen’s Forum: HE Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Various Jewish groups expressed shock and grief over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe was shot twice during a speech in support of a political candidate on July 7; he was rushed to the hospital without any vital signs and eventually succumbed to his injuries. Police announced that Tetsuya Yamagishi, 41, was arrested and confessed to killing Abe because “he harbored a grudge against a group he believed was connected to Abe,” NBC News reported. Abe was Japan’s prime minister from 2006-7 and 2012-20 before resigning due to a relapse of ulcerative colitis.

“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,” Israeli 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.”

Jewish groups also issued similar statements, lauding Abe as a friend to Israel and the Jewish people.

“We are shocked by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an iconic leader, a friend of the US, Israel and the Jewish people,” the Anti-Defamation League tweeted. “We join the people of @Japan in mourning this terrible loss.”

The American Jewish Committee also said in a statement they were “shocked and deeply saddened” over Abe’s assassination and that “the world has lost one of its most distinguished statesmen.” “Throughout his tenure as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe was an unstinting ally to the Jewish people and Israel,” they said. “As prime minister, he visited Israel and encouraged Japanese investment and business ties, increasing investment from $20 million when he was elected in 2012 to over $6 billion in 2019. When Abe addressed the AJC Global Forum in 2017, he spoke of the importance of strengthening Japan’s ties to the Jewish people. He demonstrated this in his leadership of Japan’s foreign policy and his friendship with AJC and with Israel. It is why AJC presented him in 2019 with our Light Unto the Nations Award in Tokyo, AJC’s highest honor given to world leaders who defend democratic values and show friendship to the Jewish people. Indeed, we have lost a dear friend.”

StandWithUs tweeted, “Our hearts go out to [Abe’s] loved ones. We will never forget his incredible legacy and his unwavering friendship with #Israel. May his memory be a blessing.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement, “Like the assassination of my good friend Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the senseless murder of former Prime Minister Abe is a reminder of the increased danger posed by extremists across the political spectrum. It should also serve as a wakeup call for all nations to realize once and for all that terrorism, violence, and hatred cannot be a solution to any of the problems we face collectively. Former Prime Minister Abe was a lifelong champion for Japanese democracy who served his country selflessly. On behalf of Jewish communities across the globe, I extend our deepest condolences to his family and to the nation and people of Japan.”

AIPAC called Abe “a true friend to America, and a visionary leader who advanced the bilateral relationship between Japan and Israel.” “Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan who tragically lost this great leader.”

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