July 17, 2019

Netanyahu Calls for Stepped-Up Fight Against Anti-Semitism in Wake of Poway Synagogue Shooting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the international community to “step up the struggle against anti-Semitism” in a statement issued in the wake of the shooting attack on a suburban San Diego synagogue.

“This is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said of the shooting on Saturday morning at the Chabad of Poway during services for the Sabbath and the last day of Passover. One woman was killed and three people were injured.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu will convene a “special discussion” in light of the “upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks around the world.”

Netanyahu was among the Israeli leaders who spoke out following the attack.

“It’s immoral to attack people of any faith at any place of worship. It must be stopped!” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said in a statement.

President Reuven Rivlin mourned with the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a 60-year-old woman who was killed.

“We are with you in these difficult times. We love and embrace you,” he said in a statement. “The Jewish people will never allow anti-Semitism and hatred to triumph. We are strong and we are proud of our heritage and our identity of love for each other and our fellow humans.

“The murderous attack on the Jewish community during Pesach, 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.”

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the actions of the anti-Semitic white supremacist at this house of worship.”

“As we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is dedicated to commemorating the memory of the six million men, women and children murdered for being Jewish, we shall gravely consider the dangers of unchecked anti-Semitism,” it said.

Its chairman, Avner Shalev, said world leaders must speak out and condemn anti-Semitism “in all its expressions, and immediately implement legal, moral and educational measures, both to protect the lives of their Jewish citizens, and also to fight against the outbreak of antisemitism that we have witnessed lately.”