Cabinet meeting opens with moment of silence for Pittsburgh victims

Netanyahu and the ministers stood quietly for a moment before turning to matter of state.

Cabinet meeting opens with a moment of silence for Pittsburgh shooting victims, October 28, 2018 (Yanir Cozin)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the world to combat antisemitism after Israel’s weekly cabinet held a moment of silence in memory of the eleven victims killed in Saturday's mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I call upon the whole world to unite in the fight against antisemitism everywhere. Today, regretfully, we refer to the United States, where the largest antisemitic crime in its history took place, but we also mean, of course, Western Europe, where there is a tough struggle against the manifestations of a new antisemitism. Of course there is also the old and familiar antisemitism, and that of radical Islam. On all these fronts we must stand up and fight back against this brutal fanaticism. It starts with the Jews, but never ends with the Jews,” Netanyahu said.
“It is very difficult to exaggerate the horror of the murder of Jews who had gathered in a synagogue on Shabbat and were murdered just because they were Jews. Israel stands at the forefront with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, with all Jewish communities in the US and with the American people. We stand together, at the forefront, against antisemitism and displays of such barbarity,” Netanyahu said.
"The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the people who were murdered in the shocking massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. On behalf of myself, the Government of Israel and the people of Israel, from the depth of our hearts, I send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. We all pray for the swift recovery of the wounded,” he added.
Netanyahu and the ministers stood quietly for a moment before turning to matter of state. The prime minister briefed the cabinet members of his surprise visit to Oman on Friday at the invitation of Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
“On Friday, my wife and I returned from a historic diplomatic visit to Oman. I met with the leader of Oman; Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a very experienced and impressive man. This is Israel's first official visit to Oman in 22 years. This visit comes against the background of diplomatic efforts that I have been promoting in recent years vis-a-vis the Arab countries. In our long meeting we discussed in detail the challenges facing the Middle East. These were important talks - both for the State of Israel and very important talks for Israel's security. There will be more,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister also discussed the violent weekend, in which southern Israeli residents were under rocket fire for 12 hours, from 10 p.m. Friday night to 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Palestinians in the Hamas ruled enclave fired 37 rockets at Israel, and the IDF hit 95 military targets in Gaza, 87 of which belong to Hamas and eight that belonged to the Islamic Jihad.
There were no fatalities from the rocket fire or the IDF air strikes. The Islamic Jihad has since announced that a truce was reached with Israel.
Netanyahu did not address that announcement, but he did discuss a report on Channel 2 which stated that Hamas had demanded monthly payments of $15 million to halt the violence against Israel.
Netanyahu said that Israel rejected any such ultimatums.
“We are after a weekend of air strikes in Gaza. Yesterday we heard about an 'ultimatum' from Hamas to Israel. At no stage will Israel accept any ultimatum from Hamas. Israel will continue to act in accordance with Israeli interests and for Israel's security alone,” Netanyahu said.
The security cabinet is expected to meet later on Sunday.