Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for Jewish unity between the Diaspora and Israel in the wake of the mass-shooting attack in a Pennsylvania synagogue Saturday which left 11 dead and 6 wounded.
Speaking in a recorded message for a vigil slated to be held Sunday night at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, Rivlin called the shooting a “terror attack” and offered his condolences to the families of the victims, adding that the Jewish community can never afford to ignore anti-Semitism.
“Dear families - fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters of those killed and injured in this horrific terror attack. My dear friends, brothers and sisters, members of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and dear friends of the Jewish community who have gathered here today in solidarity,” Rivlin said in the pre-recorded message.
“I feel your pain today and with me is the entire Jewish people. It is hard for us to believe, hard for us to understand, how hatred and evil rose up, to damage and to uproot the Tree of Life. How can we accept that a house of worship becomes a place of death? How does hatred dare to harm our dear people at the holy time of Shabbat prayers?
“At this time of pain we cannot offer you consolation. But we can take you to our hearts and tell you again and again - you are not alone! The people of Israel and the entire Jewish people stand with you! In your time of pain in your time of loss, we are with you. One people. One family. Unbreakable. Eternal.
“We must say loud and clear - this was an act of anti-Semitism. Our brothers and sisters, friends and family, were murdered because they were Jews. We cannot, we must not, we will not ignore it or tolerate it. Never. Nowhere. For we know and you know the terrible results when we do.
“From the depths of my heart I want to thank the brave first responders who did not hesitate for a moment and risked their own lives to protect freedom of religion, peace and liberty. They will be in our hearts forever.
“May the souls of our brothers and sisters who were killed in this terrible act be bound up in the bond of life forever.”