Jerusalem Synagogue attack: Australia/NZ speak

November 19, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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Australian Jewish community identities have spoken out against the horrific massacre at the Har Nof synagogue in West Jerusalem…and a statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott

From Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia:  “Australia condemns the attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem overnight. The killing of innocent civilians has no place in our world.

As Australians, we stand for freedom and for the right of all people throughout the world to choose their way of life and their way of worship. We always have and we always will.We mourn the passing of those killed in this atrocity. Our thoughts are with their families.

This is an act of pure evil and it is condemned by the Australian Government.”

From Robert Goot, president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry: “We are shocked and appalled by the terrorist attack on Tuesday morning, which targeted Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Har Nof, a neighborhood on in  Jerusalem. Five people were murdered by the terrorists, Ghassan Abu Jamal and Uday Abu Jamal, who stormed the synagogue armed with a gun, meat cleaver and axe, during morning prayers, a time when synagogues throughout the capital are full of congregants.

Photos IDF/Twitter

Photos IDF/Twitter

Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Moshe Twersky were killed instantly during the attack. Twenty four children are now without fathers. A fifth victim, Zidan Sayif, a policeman from the Druze village of Yanuh-Jatt was shot in the head while protecting a colleague and succumbed to his wounds several hours later. Zidan is survived by his wife and seven-month-old daughter. Six others were seriously injured in the attack.

The Australian Jewish community shares the sorrow, grief and anger caused by this barbaric crime and we pray for souls of the murdered and for their  families to be granted strength at this terrible time.

We thank the Australian Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma for his immediate, unequivocal and heartfelt condemnation of the terrorist attack and for his support for the people of Israel in this difficult time.

We are also appalled by the events that immediately followed this attack. In Gaza, mosques broadcast words of praise for the terrorists through loudspeakers, while sweets were handed out on the streets to celebrate the crime. There were similar scenes in the West Bank. A cousin of the terrorists told journalists that the family “shouted with joy”upon learning of the attack and the “martyrdom” of the “heroic” terrorists. Whilst we acknowledge the condemnation of the murders by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, we condemn the contradictory statements of Fatah representatives, applauding this vicious and brutal  attack on Jews as Jews.

We echo the sentiments of US Secretary of State John Kerry who stated that the attack was “the pure result of incitement.”

We wish long life to the families of the victims. May the memories of their loved ones be a blessing. We pray that peace can swiftly and permanently return to the holy city of Jerusalem.

From Geoff Levy, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council: “The New Zealand Jewish Council is horrified and aghast at the terrible attack  which  took place in Jerusalem. The killing of innocent civilians who were at morning prayers and who were unarmed and without defence is a despicable act. The men who were attacked were  men of peace, prayer and learning  and were unprepared this  unwarranted and  horrific assault. One of the policemen who  came  so bravely  to their aid has died of his wounds.

The New Zealand Jewish Council extends its condolences to the families of all  those who were murdered and deplores the loss of  such people not only to Israel but to the Jewish world.

It is hoped that the world will look on this act as an example of the murderous work and attitude of some of the enemies of Israel. Hopefully other countries will condemn this  heinous  and outrageous act.”

From Colin Rubenstein, executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council: “AIJAC is deeply saddened and shocked by the massacre of four Jews who were worshipping at the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in West Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighbourhood yesterday, as well as the death of an Israeli Druze policeman who was shot in the gunfight that ended the assault.

It is hard to think of a more heinous and callous crime than terrorists murdering people at prayer in their house of worship.  It is despicable that Hamas has praised this brutal attack on innocent civilians.

While we welcome the condemnation of the attack by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, it is nonetheless clear that he and the Authority he leads helped create the preconditions for this and other recent terror attacks  through relentless, baseless and incendiary claims about Israeli intentions regarding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Anyone who truly condemns this attack and genuinely does not want to see similar acts in future must also demand that this pattern of repeated ,inflammatory incitement ceases.”

From Harold Finger, president of the United Israel Appeal: “The sanctity of the Synagogue has been breached by this horrific and cowardly act of terror. Not even in Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, are we allowed to pray in safety. UIA Australia, Keren Hayesod and all of Israel embrace the families of those who have lost their loved ones yet knowing that nothing can truly comfort them. We stand with the government of Israel in their response and believe that such acts of barbarism should be condemned unilaterally by governments and peoples throughout the world.”

From Dan Springer, CEO Jewish National Fund: “When Jews are slain in a Jerusalem synagogue the true agenda of Israel’s enemies is laid bare.  The JNF Australia family extends its heartfelt sympathy to the victims’ families and solidarity with the people of Jerusalem and Israel.”

From Roland Nagel, president of Magen David Adom:  “I am currently in Israel attending the 2014 International Magen David Adom Conference (IMDAC) where I was honoured to present to the people of Israel three Ambulances (including one Mobile Intensive Care Unit) on behalf of the New South Wales Jewish Community.

As you know, today Tuesday was a tragic day for us in Israel. We express our outrage at the slaughter of innocent worshippers attending morning prayers at a Har Nof Synagogue. We condemn the senseless brutality of this heinous act of terror. We send our condolences to the families of the victims – Baruch Dayan HaEmet, Hashem Yikom Damo.

During the Conference today, we were briefed by Akiva Pollack, the first MDA Parademic to arrive at the scene of the tragedy. He described the events in heart wrenching and graphic detail which you may view on

We express our solidarity with and pray for peace for our brothers and sisters in Israel and an immediate end to violence against our people.

From Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia and vice-president Sam Tatarka: “There are almost no words to describe the horrific and brutal murders that took place in a synagogue in Har Nof on Tuesday. We condemn in the strongest terms not just the barbaric act itself of murdering four unarmed innocent men while they were praying but the savage and ferocious manner with which it was carried out. The subsequent celebrations from sectors of the Palestinian community only further highlight the impact of the incessant incitement from the highest levels of Palestinian leadership, who we hold responsible for the homicidal and cold-blooded attacks on innocent Israelis.

In recent weeks we have seen a significant increase in violence directed at innocent members of the public as they go about their daily lives. The lives of the families of the four horrifically murdered in the synagogue, and of the Druze police officer who succumbed to his wounds a day later, will never be the same. Five widows and 25 children left without a father, all in the name of terror and violence which can do nothing but further undermine prospects for peace.

May the memories of Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 58, Rabbi Calman Levine, 50, and Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, as well as Master Sergeant Zidan Sif, 30, be a blessing to all who knew them.
From Michael Danby, Federal Labor member for Melbourne Ports: “The terrorist murder of the four rabbis at prayer in their synagogue was praised by Hamas, an organisation indistinguishable from the ancient Amolek.

This attack occurred in Jerusalem, well away from contested areas.

Australia’s Parliament officially classifies Hamas as a terrorist organisation and Hamas’s statement supporting these murders make it clear why decent and civilised countries will continue to classify Hamas in this way.

I welcome the condemnation of this attack by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, though note with concern that at least one of his advisors has allegedly praised the attack on Facebook.”

From Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant President Organisation of Rabbis in Australasia

“The Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia joins world Jewry in its unreserved condemnation of the murderous acts perpetrated by contemptible terrorists with no respect for human life against innocent Jews clothed in tallitot (prayer shawls) and tefilin (phylacteries) while at prayer in a Synagogue in the heart of Jewish Jerusalem on Tuesday morning.

We offer our deepest condolences to the families of Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Zidan Saif.   HaShem yinkom demeihem. May    G-D requite the shedding of their innocent blood.

Our heartfelt prayers remain with the wounded .

Shmuel Yeruchem ben Bayla
Chaim Yechiel ben Malka
Avraham Shmuel ben Shayna
Eytan ben Sara
Moshe ben Atara

Avraham ben Cherna

Ron ben Ruth

“One who saves a life is considered to have saved the entire world, and one who takes a life is considered to have destroyed the entire world”. (Sanhedrin 4:5).  How many worlds must be destroyed before the world we live in finally recognises this terrorism for what it is, without equivocation?

We welcome the sincere words of condemnation from world leaders and many others across the globe..

May evil be removed from the face of the earth and may the Almighty spread His canopy of true peace upon all of us. Amen



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