Leaders condemn Shabbat shooting terror
Seven innocent Israelis were murdered, including a 14-year-old boy, when a lone Palestinian terrorist opened fire outside the synagogue in the neighbourhood of Neve Yaakov.
Last week’s Shabbat shooting outside a Jerusalem synagogue has been condemned by local community organisations, who described the tragedy as a “barbaric attack”, and an “act of pure cowardice”.
Seven innocent Israelis were murdered, including a 14-year-old boy, when a lone Palestinian terrorist opened fire outside the synagogue in the neighbourhood of Neve Yaakov. It was the deadliest terror attack in Israel since 2011, when terrorists crossed into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and killed eight Israelis.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong was quick to condemn the shooting, which took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Terrorism and violence against civilians can never be justified,” Wong said.
“That such a cowardly and callous attack occurred on a day where we remember the atrocities of the Holocaust is utterly reprehensible. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families, friends, and the Jewish community.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said, “This barbaric attack on civilians going about their worship on the holiest day of the week, and on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, demonstrates yet again the inhumanity of the terrorism Israel must face on a daily basis.
“Such attacks don’t happen in a vacuum. They are the result of constant and unremitting incitement to hatred and violence by the Palestinian Authority, including constant messaging on all forms of media and generous lifelong pensions by the PA to terrorists and their families, together with outright blatant calls from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their Iranian backers to kill Jews and eliminate Israel.”
Zionist Federation Australia president Jeremy Leibler said, “The Australian Jewish community stands in solidarity with the people of Israel and reaffirm our commitment to Israel’s security and its right to self-defence.
“This heinous act of violence is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat of terrorism faced by the people of Israel. To attack innocent prayer-goers in a place of worship is an act of pure cowardice. We condemn not just the perpetrator, but all those who celebrated this act, and their enablers around the world, whose obsessive hatred of Israel and use of moral equivalence encourages these types of attacks.”
While Israelis mourned the tragic loss of lives, there were shameful scenes of jubilant celebration in several Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza. “The PA could have had a state living peacefully alongside Israel many times over had it simply accepted repeated generous offers, or negotiated in good faith at peace talks, but instead prefers to remain in a state of conflict and rejectionism, dishonestly blaming Israel for all of its people’s woes,” said Rubenstein.
“We call on the international community to not only condemn this appalling attack, but also to condemn in the strongest terms the all-pervasive PA incitement, and work with Israel to end it.”
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry called the “massacre” of civilians an “act of supreme cowardice and savagery”.
“We are appalled by the ensuing scenes from across the West Bank and Gaza of fireworks and dispensing of sweets to celebrate the taking of innocent life. This represents the height of inhumanity.”
The Global Imams Council condemned “in the strongest possible terms” both the attack and the celebrations.
“This heinous Islamist terrorist attack occurred on Shabbat, and on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, targeting our innocent Jewish brethren, including their children,” a statement read.
“Furthermore, we condemn the celebrations that took place throughout the Holy Land, and beyond. The council considers the perpetrator of this crime a terrorist, and not a martyr.”
An Australian living in Neve Yaakov, Howard Shroot, told The AJN that he regularly walks past the synagogue and that the 14-year-old victim, Asher Natan, is the grandson of his neighbour.
“I certainly remember hearing helicopters overhead on Friday night, but I have heard sirens so often that I don’t even remember if I heard sirens or even shooting on Friday night,” Shroot said.
“Based on the reported time of the terror attack, I was walking a short distance away with my seven-year-old son only about 10 minutes before the terror attack.”
One of the first Magen David Adom ambulances on the scene was donated by the Jewish community of NSW and assisted with evacuating the injured.
Senior MDA paramedic Fadi Dekaidek, an East Jerusalem Arab, described the scenes he was confronted with.
“We saw a woman and four men lying on the road,” he said.
“They suffered gunshot wounds and showed no signs of life, and we had to declare their deaths.”
Despite the carnage, MDA paramedics stemmed the death toll by providing lifesaving treatment to three wounded people, including a 15-year-old boy.