Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, condemned this morning’s massacre at the synagogue in Har Nof in unequivocal terms.
Speaking at an event at the Hadassah Academic College in downtown Jerusalem, Shapiro gave a brief introduction to the several dozens of students who had gathered to hear from two experts on the meaning of the recent U.S. elections, one from the perspective of the Democrats, Mr. Hillel Schenker, the other from the Republicans, Ruth Jaffe Lieberman.
Lieberman is an experienced political consultant. She represented the non-profit organization Republicans Abroad, Israel at the debate.
Schenker is co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal, a Jerusalem-based quarterly founded and run by a group of Palestinian and Israeli academics and journalists. He also is a co-founder of the Peace Now movement.
The American diplomat, speaking just a few hours after the gory attack in Har Nof, addressed the issue, while acknowledging that was not the topic he had intended to discuss.
Shapiro said, “the terror attack this morning in Har Nof was barbaric.”
“To kill people when they are praying is just raw terror; it cannot be justified.
“On behalf of America, I condemn the attack,” Shapiro said.
The Ambassador then told the audience that Secretary of State John Kerry had called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this morning, not long after the attack took place.
“At a time like this the world cannot be silent.”
Shapiro told the full auditorium: “it is rumored that Abbas orchestrated the attack.” He continued, “I want to state clearly that we stand in solidarity with Israel, you are not alone.”
On a more personal note, the U.S. Ambassador said that he is in “constant contact with Bibi.”
Returning to a more diplomatic and political stance, Shapiro pointed out that “during the summer we, America, said loudly that Israel has the right to defend itself in Gaza against rockets, and we defended you.” Given that the event he was introducing was directly focused on U.S. politics, Shapiro informed the young audience that the U.S. “gives the Israel Defense Force $3 million every year.i
The American diplomat gave a brief nod to the very recent dramatic upheaval in the political composition of the two houses in congress, both of which now have Republican majorities. He said, “There have been many changes in the American government but I’m confident that the American-Israeli relationship will not change.”