Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday over the telephone in the wake of a shooting near a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle which claimed the lives of two people.
As the Jewish community in Germany reels from the incident, Netanyahu thanked the German leader for expressing a firm stance against anti-Semitism. He told Merkel that it was important that Germany increase its efforts to curb anti-Semitism in the country. Merkel, on her part, told the Israeli premier that she intends to implement measures to safeguard Germany’s Jewish community.
Earlier Thursday, top German officials headed to the scene of an attack, seeking to reassure an unsettled Jewish community after members saw a man trying to break into their house of worship on Judaism's holiest day.
The attack, carried out by a 27-year-old German citizen after he failed to enter the synagogue where worshippers were attending Yom Kippur prayers, was most likely motivated by anti-Semitic ideology, according to German officials.
On Wednesday night, the president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, called the lack of police protection on Yom Kippur "scandalous," accusing the security establishment of negligence.
Israel's Foreign Ministry issued its own condemnation and condolences, via a statement, which Israel's envoy to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, repeated on Twitter.
European leaders also reacted, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel attending a vigil outside Berlin's New Synagogue, as a "sign of solidarity," according to her spokesperson. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas earlier said: "we must all act against anti-Semitism in our country."
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