'Israel mourns with the American people' - Israeli leaders react to Texas shooting

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog were some of the leaders who expressed their condolences.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, May 1, 2022.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, May 1, 2022.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Israeli leaders and US Jewish organizations sent their condolences to the United States after 19 students and two teachers were gunned down by a teenager in a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.

“We are all devastated by the horrific shooting in Texas,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote in English in response to the shooting. “The prayers of the people of Israel are with the families of the victims, the Uvalde community and the American people.”

The prayers of the people of Israel are with the families of the victims, the Uvalde community, and the American people.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

President Isaac Herzog said he was “horrified to hear news of the murderous rampage at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Our hearts are broken. The death of a child is a tragedy beyond measure, let alone the killing of 19 innocent children and two adults. Israel joins the people of the United States in grief.”

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said the incident was “an act of inconceivable evil. I would like to express my great sorrow and send my condolences to the American people.”

The motive for the massacre in Texas, the latest in a string of mass shootings in the US, was not immediately known. Ten days ago, 10 people were killed by a gunman in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

 Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, comforts people as they react outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, US May 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO) Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, comforts people as they react outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, US May 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)

Nearly a decade ago, a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The Uvalde shooting was the deadliest attack at a US school since then.

“We mourn with the American people for the loss of innocent life in the mass shooting in Uvalde,” Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog tweeted. “No child should fear for their safety while in school. The people of Israel stand with our friends in the US and we send strength to the families torn apart by this horrific tragedy.”

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said: “There are no words left to describe the pain and horror of yet another school shooting. The rage and heartbreak of living in a society that repeatedly permits the destruction of life. God forgive this country for loving guns more than children.”

In a statement decrying the shooting, B’nai B’rith president Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said: “What will be the tipping point for our country to finally act on sensible gun reform measures?”

“This is a uniquely American problem,” they added. “Is there ever going to be a red line, an act of gun violence so heinous that lawmakers finally enact sensible gun reform measures? We would have thought we crossed that line long ago. Will this massacre, this time, be the tipping point?

“Of course, sensible gun reform won’t stop all gun violence. But we need to start someplace. It is well past time to take that step forward. We call on Congress to unite on this issue. We need sensible gun reform measures now.”

Jody Rabhan, chief policy officer at the National Council of Jewish Women, wrote in an email to her organization’s members: “Firearms are the leading cause of death in children in the United States, yet legislation to save the lives of children – and all who might fall victim to gun violence – has been stalled in the Senate.

“As Jews, we have an obligation to care for and protect everyone in all of our communities. This means ensuring that what happened in Uvalde, Texas; Parkland, Florida; Newtown, Connecticut; and so many other communities never happens again. We can protect our children and keep our communities safe by passing common sense gun violence legislation.”