Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was informed of the terrorist shooting attack in Tel Aviv Thursday night while sitting in the main Sephardic synagogue in Rome, where he is on a diplomatic visit.
Military secretary Avi Gil whispered the report of the attack in the prime minister's ear shortly after he delivered an address to the Jewish community of Rome.
Netanyahu responded briefly and said: "I send my wishes of recovery to the wounded and strengthen the security forces."
He later arose and told the congregation of the attack. “We will continue to build our nation, we will continue to deepen our roots, and to build our common future. As brothers and sisters,” he said.
Rabbi Riccardo Shmuel Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, said: "We heard that there was an attack in central Tel Aviv. This only strengthens us as one nation. We all need to unite against terrorism."
The congregation sang Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, after Netanyahu told them of the shooting attack.
Afterwards, Netanyahu held a security assessment via phone with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Military Secretary Avi Gil and the deputy chief of the Shin Bet.
In his speech to dozens of members of the Jewish community of Rome before being informed of the attack, the Prime Minister referred to the speech given by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the need to reach compromises on the government's planned judicial reforms.
“We must remember that especially these days, days of argument and debate within Israel — we must remember we are one nation with a common future,” Netanyahu said, adding that he welcomes "all initiatives" for finding a negotiated solution to the crisis.