WASHINGTON/LONDON – US President Barack Obama evoked the recent tragedy in Toulouse in noting the continued relevance of Passover in his annual holiday message Thursday.
“Throughout our history, there are those who have targeted the Jewish people for harm – a fact we were so painfully reminded of just a few weeks ago in Toulouse,” he said.
“But tomorrow night, Jews around the world will renew their faith that liberty will ultimately prevail over tyranny.”
Obama praised the Jewish people’s commitment to repairing the world, which he said has “inspired American Jews to help make our union more perfect.”
“The story of that first Exodus has also inspired those who are not Jewish with common hopes, and a common sense of obligation,” he added.
Obama noted he will be participating in the fourth annual White House Seder Friday night, and that he is looking forward to retelling the story of the Exodus, hearing the four questions, and “of course, [I] look forward to a good bowl of matza ball soup.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron, noting that Passover marks “the release from slavery and the liberation of a people from tyranny,” said on Thursday that the Toulouse terrorist attack has shown that “the search for freedom from fear is not yet over.”
The British leader wished the Jewish community in the UK a “very happy and peaceful Passover.”
“I join with you in hoping that the coming year will bring about security and a lasting peace for Israel and the wider region,” he said.
“This government remains firmly committed to supporting you in that goal.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague also issued a message on Thursday. Passover marks “not just the Children of Israel’s escape from slavery but also the start of spring and the opportunity for renewal and change,” he said.
“I am delighted to send my best wishes to the Jewish community in Britain and around the world as the festival of Passover begins and many celebrate the values of liberty and freedom.”