British Jews ‘stand in solidarity’ after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
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British Jews ‘stand in solidarity’ after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

UK community reacts with horror to mass shooting in America which has seen 'multiple casualties'

Marie van der Zyl is under fire for failing to condemn the Netanyahu-far right tie-up
Marie van der Zyl is under fire for failing to condemn the Netanyahu-far right tie-up

Politicians and community leaders in the UK have reacted with shock to a deadly mass shooting at a synagogue in the US.

A suspect is in custody after he reportedly killed at least 10 people, opening fire during a baby naming ceremony at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

At least six other people were wounded, including four police officers who rushed to the scene.

A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Robert Bowers and said he is in his 40s.

Tributes to the victims and condemnation of the deadly attack poured in from across the world, with the President of Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, saying: “Our hearts go out to the innocent worshippers gunned down in cold blood at a Pittsburgh synagogue. According to reports, the shooter said “all these Jews must die”.

“The UK’s Jewish community stands in solidarity with everyone affected in the US, now and always.”

The Jewish Leadership Council posted a statement, that said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh as they deal with the aftermath of the terrible events that occurred during a Shabbat service at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which brought violence to a place and time of prayer. May the memory of those who were killed be blessed and may those who were injured achieve a full and rapid recovery.”

The Community Security Trust said there will be increased visibility of police patrols in some areas of the UK community after the attack. On Twitter, they said: “CST thanks those UK Police forces and mayoral offices that have contacted us regarding security, support and reassurance for the UK Jewish community”.

Religious leaders also condemned the massacre and offered messages of support for those affected.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said “people across the world stand united in grief this evening”

“The more hatred we face, the more relentless our pursuit of the paths of peace will be.”

“To the families so devastated by this unspeakable evil, may the Almighty comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Reform Judaism’s senior rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “My heart hurts as all of our hearts join with families and friends of those murderer at the Pittsburgh synagogue. May their memories be a blessing and may we never experience such abhorrent hate crimes again”.

Jeremy Hunt, UK Foreign Secretary, said it was a: “Terrible tragedy”, adding that “our thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected. UK will always stand firm against antisemitism but so sad we still have to say so”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took to Twitter to condemn the attack, saying: “My thoughts are with those killed or injured in this horrific act of antisemitic violence, and with their loved ones. We must stand together against hate and terror.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London sought to reassure Jews in the capital of their safety. He said: “Synagogues and all places of worship should be sanctuaries. London stands with the congregation of the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh – you are in our thoughts and prayers.”

He added that “City Hall has been in touch with the Met [police] and we will do everything possible to support and protect you. Please report anything suspicious to the police and CST.”

Reaction emerged from Israel, where president Reuven Rivlin said the country is “thinking of ’our brothers and sisters, the whole house of Israel, in time of trouble’, as we say in the morning prayers.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “heartbroken and appalled” by the attack.

“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead,” he said.

“We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S Lauder called the shooting “an attack not just on the Jewish community, but on America as a whole”.

Education minister Naftali Bennett will depart to the US, to visit the scene of the attack, meet the local community and participate in the funerals of those killed.

Bennett said. “When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel pain. All Israel are responsible for one another.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and we pray for the swift recovery of the injured, as we pray this is the last such event.”

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