JERUSALEM — Israeli leaders sent messages of support to the United States in the wake of a Texas church shooting that left at least 26 people dead.
“Horrified by the savagery in Texas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that his office also tweeted. “Our hearts are with the victims, their families and the American people.”
President Reuven Rivlin, on an official visit to Spain, also tweeted his concern.
“Terrible news coming out of #Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families,” he wrote.
Several local Jewish congregations responded, including Shearith Israel.
“The act of mass murder in a house of God is a particularly heinous and unspeakable crime,” the synagogue’s press release stated. “We pray that the families who mourn the loss of loved ones will find comfort and consolation. We pray that God will send healing to all those who have been injured.”
The Rabbinical Council of America responded, as well.
“The murder of every human being, each created in the divine image, is the ultimate tragedy,” said Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the RCA. “This tragedy is compounded by the violation and desecration of a house of worship.”
A gunman opened fire Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, southeast of San Antonio. The congregation had just begun its service.
The gunman has been identified as Devin Kelley, 26, from New Braunfels. Kelley reportedly served in the Air Force, but was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child, and received a dishonorable discharge in 2014 for “bad conduct.” The Air Force admitted it failed to pass along that ruling to the FBI. Those documents would have prevented him from purchasing any firearm, including at least one used in the attack.
Kelley was found dead in his car some miles from the church after a car chase. At least 20 others were wounded.