Jerusalem, 16 January, 2022 (TPS) — Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog conveyed his thanks to the Texas law enforcement who brought a positive resolution to the hostage incident at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, which ended with the safe rescue of all the Jewish worshipers.
About 10 hours after a kidnapper entered the synagogue during Shabbat morning prayers, which were being live-streamed through Facebook, all four Jewish hostages were released and the suspect was killed in an operation by law enforcement to end the incident.
“Grateful that the hostages held at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, were rescued and returned to their loved ones. This horrific incident is a reminder that the threat of antisemitism is ever present. Jews should not be afraid to pray in their synagogues,” stated Herzog after the incident’s conclusion.
He thanked “all the local and federal law enforcement and first responders who were on the scene and helped prevent a tragedy this Shabbat. We will continue to stand with the Texas Jewish community and against every form of hatred.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan stated” “Thank God all the hostages at Cong. Beth Israel are safe. I am thankful for the law enforcement who responded swiftly to ensure their safety.”
“This horrific incident reminds us that US leaders must act today. Disaster awaits if serious action is not taken against antisemitism,” he added.
Before the incident’s resolution, Livia Link, Israel’s Consul General in Houston drove for hours to the scene of the incident, and was updated on what’s happening on the ground.
“We are closely monitoring the hostage situation and are in close contact with American law enforcement agencies,” stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt stated that “this situation is a painful reminder of the fact that synagogues in America continue to be at risk for terrorist attacks. There is no doubt, given what we know so far, that the hostage-taker chose his target carefully. We urge law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate the role antisemitism may have played in motivating the suspect.”
ADL “urges continued vigilance in securing synagogues and all Jewish institutions in the wake of this attack. The risks remain high in light of the historic level of antisemitism across the country and the proliferation of anti-Jewish hate online.”
President Joe Biden stated he was “sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community.”
“There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate — we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country. That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud.”