Bennett to U.S. Jews: 'Israel stands behind you'

Earlier on Sunday, Bennett gave an interview to Fox News and said that he is "done with explaining antisemitism."

October 28, 2018 20:32
2 minute read.
Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett sits on the floor to read the Book of Lament

Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett sits on the floor to read the Book of Lamentations at an event commemorating Tisha Be’av in Shoham on Saturday night.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

In a visit to Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue where 11 people were gunned down on Shabbat, Education and Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the State of Israel stood alongside the Jewish community there “as one person with one soul.”

Bennett flew out to the US on Saturday night upon hearing of the mass shooting by antisemitic extremist Robert Bower and visited the synagogue building. He also met with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to discuss the attack as well as security measures that can be put in place for the Jewish community.

Bennett was able to enter the scene of the shooting in the synagogue itself. He spoke with FBI officials about the attack and lit memorial candles for the 11 victims at the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh.

“One’s heart is dumbfounded by such events; 11 families who lost their loved ones in moments of terror and crazy hatred,” the minister said. “The State of Israel and the entire Jewish people bow their heads with the community in Pittsburgh, which has undergone an immense tragedy. We have come here in order to lend support, to give strength and to give a clear message that the Jewish people are united, courageous and strong.”

In response to questions about the tense relations between US Jews and the rabbinical establishment in Israel, Bennett said that “the killer did not ask [the victims] who is who.” He stressed that he is happy to meet “any Jewish person” and that “every Jew in the world is wanted and loved [in Israel].”

Earlier on Sunday, Jewish-American writer David Simon slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter, claiming that Netanyahu helped US President Donald Trump to be elected and that, in turn, enabled the rise of American fascism.

In response to a tweet by Bennett about his flight to Pittsburgh to support the local Jewish community, Simon wrote that the minister should “Go Home.”

“Netanyahu’s interventions in US politics aided in the election of Donald Trump,” wrote Simon, who argued that the US president provides “raw and relentless validation of white nationalism and fascism.”

Simon further wrote that “the American Jewish community is now bleeding at the hands of the Israeli Prime Minister.”

Simon is known for creating the television series The Wire.

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