A terror attack near a synagogue in Halle, Germany that killed two people on Wednesday is “additional testimony that antisemitism in Europe is increasing,” said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The anti-Semitic attack which took place during Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, also prompted calls by German, European and world Jewish leaders for Germany to take action to protect the Jewish community from resurgent anti-Semitic extremism.
Witnesses to the Halle attack say the gunman tried but failed to break his way into the synagogue where 70 to 80 people were inside worshipping.
He then killed two people while firing outside the building and into a nearby kebab shop.
“On behalf of the people of Israel, I send condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a quick recovery to the injured,” Netanyahu said. “I call on the German authorities to continue taking determined action against anti-Semitism.”
German police said on Wednesday that they had made one arrest, though it wasn’t clear whether they believed other assailants were involved or still at large.
The news magazine Der Spiegel, without citing sources, reported that the suspect is a 27-year-old man from the state of Saxony-Anhalt, which is where Halle is located. The report said investigators have a video the assailant filmed before and during the attack.
The live streaming site Twitch says a video of the shooting was broadcast live to its platform.
The company said it “worked with urgency to remove this content” and warned that any account found to be posting or reposting “content of this abhorrent act” would be permanently suspended.
It wasn’t immediately clear who posted the video of the attack on Twitch.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said he is “stunned and pained” by the attack.
“I call on the leaders of Germany and the free world to bring the full force of law against antisemitism and its results,” he said. “We will continue to campaign for education and remembrance in the fight antisemitism which raises its head again and again in Europe and across the world, based on the clear understanding that it is not a problem of the Jews alone, but threatens to destroy us all.”
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem also condemned in the strongest terms Wednesday’s cruel terror attack:
“We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Germany and worldwide in the face of this depraved assault on a sacred place on this most sacred of days for our Jewish friends,” said ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “It is past time for European and other world leaders to truly confront the rising tide of antisemitism in our midst. We also offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in today’s violent hate crime.”
In Germany last year, violent attacks against Jews almost doubled.
French President Emmanuel Macron says anti-Semitism is the worst it’s been since World War II.
The UK saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 according to a report from the UK-based Community Security Trust (CST).
“CST recorded 1 652 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2018, the highest total that CST has ever recorded in a single calendar year. This is an increase of 16% from the 1 420 antisemitic incidents recorded by CST in 2017, which was itself a record annual total,” the report said.
Many Jews are considering leaving Europe to find safety in Israel.
“There is concern in Hungary. There is concern in France. There is concern of a new and very ugly wave of anti-Semitism sweeping Western Europe and I think we will see more Jews coming to Israel,” Alan Hoffman, CEO of The Jewish Agency, told CBN News.