Australian leaders respond to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

REBECCA DAVIS

The security level for the Australian Jewish community has remain unchanged after the Pittsburg attack that saw 11 people killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue.

The Community Security Group reminded the community that, despite not raising the alert level, an attack on the Jewish community is “likely”.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “The evil shooting of innocent Americans gathering together in faith in their Synagogue in Pittsburgh is truly awful.”

“We send our love to their families and their community and to our own Jewish community here in Australia as they hear this terrible news.”

His sentiments were echoed by Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.

“All Australians have been shocked by the terrible news from Pittsburgh and the evil attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue,” he said, adding, “Our hearts go out to those who have lost a loved one and to everyone who shares in their grief, pain and fear today”.

Co-chief of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) Peter Wertheim said they are “deeply saddened, appalled and outraged” by the tragic hate crime.

“This act of terrorism, targeting Jews joined together in peaceful prayer, is a crime of irrational hatred and base cowardice.

“We stand united with our Jewish brothers and sisters throughout the world to pray for the souls of the massacred, for the community of Pittsburgh, and for the strength of those left behind. We pray that the wounded make a swift and complete recovery,” he commented.

“This was an attack not just on the Jewish community, but on individual freedom itself, and freedom of religion and belief in particular,” Wertheim added, while urging the community to remain calm and vigilant.

Senator Eric Abetz, Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, has also condemned the “vile and disgusting attack,” labelling it both antisemitic and and attack on our humanity.

“While we can never fully understand the motives behind acts of terror, this attack which appears to have been driven by a desire to harm and maim those belonging to a particular religious faith is sickening,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, the brave police who sustained injuries in protecting worshippers and with the Jewish community in Australia who are confronting just the latest attack on their faith.”