(October 3, 2017 / JNS) By Adam Abrams/JNS.org
Israeli officials and the leaders of major American Jewish organizations united in condemnation of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which at least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded.
The lone suspect in the shooting, Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on an outdoor Las Vegas country music festival from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, in what Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joe Lombardo initially referred to as a “lone wolf” attack.
This was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
While Israel’s Foreign Ministry had said at least 12 Israelis in Las Vegas were unaccounted for following the shooting, ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon later told The Times of Israel, “We succeeded in reaching all Israelis that were in Las Vegas. As of now, we do not know of any Israeli who fell victim to this attack.”
Among the hundreds wounded in the attack, one victim was identified as a Jewish female, who was reported to be in stable condition after undergoing surgery for her injuries, according to Rabbi Mendy Harlig of Chabad of Green Valley.
“On this terrible day, the people of Israel stand shoulder to shoulder with the American people in mourning and sorrow,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. “Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and we wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. We grieve with you.”
Netanyahu Tuesday reiterated those sentiments, saying, “Las Vegas and the American people experienced a day of horror,” and that Israel and the U.S. will “overcome” the tragedy “together.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to President Donald Trump Monday, writing, “We stand with you as you mourn the terrible loss of life and injury following this senseless attack on people who had merely gathered together to listen to music.”
In the letter, Rivlin requested that Trump “convey our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and send our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to the many injured.”
Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Hatnuah party leader Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid were among the other Israeli officials who conveyed their condolences after the shooting.
“The hearts of all Israelis are with the American people on this day of profound tragedy. We pray for the wounded. God bless you,” Bennett tweeted.
Jewish organizations’ response
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder decried the “senseless” shooting attack, calling it “simply unconscionable that people anywhere going to enjoy a concert with family or friends should have to be in fear for their very lives.”
“On behalf of world Jewry, I condemn this horrific criminal act,” said Lauder. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to all those who were wounded.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), B’nai B’rith International and American Jewish Committee were among the other major American Jewish organizations to condemn the shooting attack.
“While we are still learning details and do not know the impetus for the killings, one thing is clear: the threat of mass violence against innocent civilians in America has not abated. This threat must be taken seriously,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
Cheryl Fishbein, chair of the JCPA, called on “all Americans to stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors against acts of senseless violence,” saying it is “imperative” that the “underlying causes” of the attack be addressed.
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) said it is “saddened and horrified” by both the Las Vegas shooting as well as last weekend’s stabbing and car-ramming attacks in the Canadian city of Edmonton, which injured a police officer and at least four others.
“These attacks are just the latest instances of senseless violence that terrorizes innocent people everywhere and must come to an end,” JFNA stated.