On Friday nights, the streets in Jerusalem are silent. Few cars travel the road as the city prepares to observe the Sabbath. Instead, many people walk with their families to their synagogues to pray.
However, on Friday, Jan. 27, a 21-year-old Palestinian gunman drove to a synagogue and disturbed this peaceful scene. As worshippers finished their evening service, the terrorist opened fire, killing seven people and wounding three others.
After shooting the worshippers, the perpetrator fled in a vehicle and was chased down by Israeli Police. The perpetrator fired upon the police who returned fire, killing the gunman.
The White House issued a statement that same day: “We strongly condemn the heinous terror attack that took place this evening at a synagogue in Jerusalem, and are shocked and saddened by the loss of life, including the killing of at least eight innocent victims. The attack tragically occurred on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the memory of those lost in the Holocaust is commemorated around the world. The United States will extend our full support to the Government and people of Israel. Accordingly, the President has directed his national security team to engage immediately with Israeli counterparts to offer all appropriate support in assisting the wounded and bringing the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim congratulated the terrorist and the “heroic operation.”
Hani al-Thawabta, a senior official of the terrorist group The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also praised the attack and threatened that the “message of the cities of the West Bank is that we will address the occupation in the language of bullets.”
In retaliation to the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government plan to cancel social security benefits for the families of attackers (who receive payments from the Palestinian Authority’s Martyr Fund, which provides money to families of terrorists who are incarcerated or killed due to an act of terror), and make it easier for Israelis to get gun licenses and increase efforts to remove illegal guns from Israel.
Ritchie Torres, a young progressive leader in the House of Representatives who represents NY-15, issued a statement on Twitter. He said, “During the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a terrorist murdered and wounded multiple worshipers at a synagogue in Jerusalem. We are tragically reminded that the antisemitic hate that led to the Holocaust remains deeply rooted in our own time.”
Governor Kathy Hochul also issued a statement condemning the attack and said that “We stand with Israel today and always.” Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nick Langworthy issued similar statements to that of the governor.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel on Monday, Jan. 30 and security issues were discussed. Talks centered around Iran, regional stability and ongoing United States support for Israel.