TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “abhorrent” shooting attack at a Poway, California Chabad synagogue on Saturday that killed one woman and wounded three others.
Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, died protecting the rabbi of the congregation Yisroel Goldstein. Goldstein was wounded in the attack as was an Israeli eight-year-old girl, Noya Dahan, who sustained shrapnel wounds in her face and leg. Her uncle, Almog Peretz, 31, was shot in the leg. All three are in stable condition.
“I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“We send condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and our best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. The international community must step up the struggle against antisemitism,” the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people.”
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 28, 2019
In light of the upsurge in antisemitic attacks around the world, Netanyahu said he plans to convene a special Knesset session this week to deal with the issue, his office said.
Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin also expressed shock over the attack, which occurred on the last day of Passover.
“We were shocked and grieved to hear of the shooting at Chabad of Poway, California yesterday,” Rivlin said. “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 antisemitism and hatred of Jews is still with us, everywhere.”
“No country and no society are immune. Only through education for Holocaust remembrance and tolerance can we deal with this plague,” he continued. “Our hearts are with the Gilbert Kaye family, who have lost their dear Lori, with the families of the injured and with the whole community. We are with you in these difficult times. We love and embrace you.”
“The Jewish people will never allow antisemitism 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 president added.
Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett called the attack a “great tragedy for all the Jewish people.”
Bennett, who is also the outgoing Education Minister, described Gilbert as a “hero of Israel.”
“Lori Gilbert Kaye is a Jewish hero, and will be remembered as a hero in Jewish history. She sacrificed her own life, throwing herself in the path of the murderer’s bullets to save the life of the Rabbi. But it is clear that such heroism and good deeds are not only characteristic of dear Lori in death, but this is the way she lived her life — at the heart of her community, constantly doing charity and good deeds for those in need,” he said.
“She has been described by those who knew her as an ‘Eshet Chayil,’ a ‘Woman of Valor,’ and I would add, a true Hero of Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband and daughter, may they find great comfort in Lori’s tremendous example and courage.”
Noya Dahan’s father, Israel, said his family had moved to San Diego after years of living in rocket-battered Sderot. He told Army Radio that his house had been hit several times by rockets launched from neighboring Gaza.