'My feeling is the shooter did not look for a Jewish target'

Watch: Rabbi Aryeh Folger from Vienna speaks to Arutz Sheva following shooting attack in the Austrian capital.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Rabbi Aryeh Folger
Rabbi Aryeh Folger
David Friedman, Munich

Rabbi Aryeh Folger, a rabbi in Vienna and member of the Conference of European Rabbis, spoke to Arutz Sheva following Monday’s shooting attack in the Austrian capital.

“[The shooter] did not enter the synagogue. I am not aware of him trying to get inside. The synagogue and the community center inside were closed, but he did shoot at people in nearby cafes,” he said.

“My feeling is that the anti-Semitic angle was probably not the main focus of this terrorist’s act,” continued Rabbi Folger, “but rather that after shooting and killing a number of people at the Schwedenplatz, he wanted to also reach a Jewish institution in the hope that he’ll be able to find some Jews to hurt and preferably kill, in a sick and twisted way so that people would find some redeeming quality about him.”

“That seems to be a pattern that we’ve seen in other terror attacks, so it is very possible that the intention was not to primarily hit a Jewish target, but to also hit a Jewish target. Right now we’ve all been told to stay home. Police are looking for the perpetrator and possibly other perpetrators.”

“Generally we feel very safe,” said Rabbi Folger. “There are a number of police here in the area that help ensure the safety of the neighborhoods that have a high concentration of a Jewish population. In general, Austria is a safe place. This kind of violent terrorism isn’t something you can plan for, except for contingency planning.”

“To say that we feel terribly unsafe because of such an act would be an exaggeration. Obviously now we feel unsafe but we’ve been preparing for decades for these kinds of things. Security is very important to the Jewish community and one of the reasons is acts like this.”