Israel and the Jewish Diaspora stand together, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, hours after the hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas were released.
“To the Jewish community in the US and diaspora Jewry around the world, I say: You are not alone. We are one family and we stand strong and united together,” Bennett said in English at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
“This event is a stark reminder that the dark forces of antisemitism still exist,” he added. “We must and we will do what we can to fight it.”
Bennett thanked law enforcement for their “swift response and courageous action.”
In Hebrew, Bennett said he spent the night worried about the hostage situation, and that he wants to strengthen the Jewish community in Colleyville, Texas and the US more broadly, who have “have dealt in recent years with rising antisemitism and a feeling of a lack of basic security.”
“This is a moment of mutual responsibility, and we are like one family with our Jewish brothers in the Diaspora, just as they are with us in times of trouble,” he added.
An FBI Hostage Rescue Team stormed Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday night after an 11-hour standoff to free three remaining hostages from a gunman who was demanding the release of Pakistani Al-Qaeda-affiliated Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year prison sentence for multiple felonies, including trying to kill US Army officers.
The gunman entered the synagogue during Shabbat morning services, holding Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three others at gunpoint. One man was released earlier six hours later.
The hostage-taker was pronounced dead after law enforcement entered the synagogue. Authorities have yet to definitively identify the man or clarify how he died, nor if any of the supposed weapons had been recovered.
Ariella Marsden contributed to this report.