MidEast

Israeli Leaders Condemn San Diego Synagogue Shooting as “Attack on Heart of Jewish People”

Israeli leaders have condemned the terrorist attack at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, in which one woman was killed and three people were wounded. Congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye died as she shielded Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from the gunman, who stormed into the building and opened fire on worshipers.

Rabbi Goldstein lost several fingers, and a young girl and her uncle, originally from Sderot, Israel, were injured in the vicious attack.

“I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “The international community must step up the struggle against anti-Semitism,” the prime minister added.

“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,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin remarked.

Shortly after the shooting, U.S. authorities arrested a 19-year-old man named as John T. Earnest. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said that investigators were reviewing the suspect’s social media activity, including a virulently anti-Semetic “open letter” published by the gunman on the far-right forum 8chan.

The letter was reportedly similar to a document published on the same platform by the suspect arrested after the terrorist attack inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last month.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences and condemned the San Diego shooting. “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community,” he said. “We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tweeted: “Coming just six months after the horrific mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we are confronted with what appears to be another anti-Semitic attack. We all stand with the Jewish community against this act of hate.”

The terrorist attack in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people were killed, was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.

[Photo: CBS This Morning / YouTube]