Netanyahu: German Synagogue Attack More Evidence of Rising Antisemitism in Europe

Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a meeting with the heads of local regional councils, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. General elections in Israel are scheduled for Feb. 10 and pre-election polls show Netanyahu with a lead over Foreign Minister and Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni.(AP …
AP/Ariel Schalit

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his shock and anger at Wednesday’s synagogue attack in Germany, leading a host of Israeli politicians condemning the antisemitic murders.

“The terror attack against the community in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day for our people, is another expression of the rising anti-Semitism in Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, moments after the holy day ended in Israel (while it was still ongoing in Germany).

“In the name of the Israeli people I send condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured,” he went on. “I call on the German authorities to continue to act determinedly against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.”

President Reuven Rivlin said he was “stunned and pained by the terrible antisemitic murders in Germany” that were committed during the holiest and most important day of the year for all Jews around the world. He called on German leaders and the entire free world to bring the full force of law against antisemitism and its results.

“We will continue to campaign for education and remembrance in the fight against anti-Semitism which raises its head again and again in Europe and across the world, based on the clear understanding that it is not a problem of the Jews alone, but threatens to destroy us all,” the president said.

At least two people were shot dead in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday, with a synagogue among the targets. The suspect, identified by German media as 27-year-old German Stephan Balliet, filmed the assault and posted the video online.

The rampage was streamed live for 35 minutes on Twitch, and eventually seen by some 2,200 people, the online platform said, in a chilling reminder of the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last March which was also online in real-time.

The US Embassy in Berlin tweeted its condemnation of the attack as well. “This attack is an attack on all of us and the perpetrators must be held accountable. We mourn the victims of this senseless violence,” the tweet read.

The embassy announced that 10 Americans were in the synagogue at the time of the attack.

Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress has commented that, ‘“We are relieved that an even greater tragedy was avoided because of the security around the synagogue which apparently took measures to ensure that the attacker was not able to enter into the premises. However, that Jews observing one of the holiest days of the year were targeted for death should send shock waves in Germany and beyond.

“We need to do more to guarantee these types of attacks do not happen again, by combatting radicalisation, creating tougher law enforcement measures and putting more resources into educating towards tolerance. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

On Monday, the Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned German authorities for “negligence” after it released a man who attempted to run into a synagogue armed with a knife in central Berlin on Friday evening.

AFP contributed to this report

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