The Jewish community has reacted with horror after MP Jo Cox was killed in an attack near Leeds.

The Labour politician died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency advice surgery. The campaigning politician and former Oxfam activist is the first MP to be killed while in office since 1990 and the first female member of parliament ever.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “We’re united in grief today at the terrible loss of Jo Cox. Brutally murdered as she served constituents. May her memory be for a blessing.” Sending condolences to her family, colleague Luciana Berger described the late MP as “kind, wonderful, passionate, super talented”, while Ruth Smeeth said she was “heartbroken” at the loss of an “inspiration, friend, sister”.

Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark, who mixed socially with the MP and husband Brendan, said: “She was a person who cared. An inspiring politician and very much part of the future of the Labour Party and mainstream Labour values in this country. Everyone at JLM is shaken and devastated by her loss.”

The Jewish Leadership Council paid its respects on Twitter, saying: “We are shocked and appalled at the senseless and tragic murder of Jo Cox MP. We send our sincere condolences to her husband and family.”

The Community Security Trust also took to social media to issue
a statement. It wrote: “We are shocked and appalled at the attack on Jo Cox MP and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

Tributes also came from Israel. Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein sent his condolences to his British equivalent John Bercow, saying: “I am deeply shocked by the murder of MP Jo Cox. A murder committed against an elected representative, for expressing an opinion, is a vile act and a warning sign for any society, including ours in Israel. Freedom of expression is the bedrock of our societies and such violence is an abhorrent phenomenon that must be stamped out.”

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “My heart breaks for the loss of Jo Cox and for Brendan and their kids. She was so full of life and joy. Words feel hopeless right now.”

He praised Mr Cox’s “extraordinary dignity, love and compassion”, adding: “Brendan – we all stand with you and grieve with you.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement: “This is absolutely tragic and dreadful news and my thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan, their two children and wider family. We’ve lost a great star. She had a big heart and people are going to be very, very sad at what has happened.

“She was a very strong campaigning MP. She had a great track record of caring about refugees and had taken a big interest in how we can look after Syrian refugees and do the right thing in our world. She was a star for her constituents, a star in Parliament and a star right across the House.

“It’s right that we are suspending campaigning activity in this referendum and everyone’s thoughts will be with Jo’s family and her constituents at this terrible time.”

Labour former prime minister Tony Blair said: “This is absolutely tragic. Such a pointless and savage act of hatred contradicts everything Jo lived for and worked for.

“She was a servant of others all her life, thought of others first and was committed to making their lives better. She is a huge loss to British politics. My heart goes out to Brendan and their children. They’re in all our thoughts and prayers this night.”

Downing Street said flags across Whitehall will be lowered to half mast. Former deputy chair of the Tory Party, Grant Shapps, said the upcoming by-election should remain uncontested as a tribute to her public service.

Jo Cox opposed efforts by the government to curtail the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli businesses. She stated: “I believe that this is a gross attack on democratic freedoms. Not only is it right to boycott unethical companies but it is our right to do so.”