Speaker of the Knesset MK Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) hosted on Monday a group of 15 Jewish women from Pittsburgh who are in Israel as part Momentum – an eight day journey through Israel organized by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, in conjunction with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.
Speaker Edelstein told the women, some of whom are relatives or acquaintances of those murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, that the State of Israel will always stand with the Jews of the Diaspora.
“The shocking massacre stems from hatred for Jews and joins the attempts throughout the years to annihilate the Jewish People,” he said.
“Unfortunately, here in Israel we have also experienced severe terror attacks against Jews, but nothing will break us. I call on you, as representatives of the community, to convey this spirit in Pittsburgh as well. I hope the day will come when we will learn not to hate one another on the basis of religion or nationality. We in Israel embrace you. We are all one big family.”
Robin, a resident of Pittsburgh, told Speaker Edelstein that the visit to Israel at this juncture kindled the importance of Judaism inside her.
“I belong to the Jewish American majority – people who do not keep Shabbat or keep kosher and lose distinctive Jewish characteristics. The visit to Israel specifically this week lit the spark of understanding inside me that I want my children to recognize the importance of Judaism, and that they too should be passionate about the Jewish State of Israel.”
Kelly, also a resident of the city, recounted that “Etz Chayim (Tree of Life)” synagogue is located a few meters away from my home and I was there dozens of times. It is very difficult to be far away from home and from the children this week, but there is a reason why we are all here particularly at this time. I am consoled by the fact that I am in Israel and receive a hug here, which is unparalleled.”
Upon the conclusion of the meeting, Speaker Edelstein invited the group to the VIP Gallery of the Knesset plenum and opened the session by delivering condolences to the families of the 11 slain in the mass shooting.