Metro Atlanta residents react to deadly shooting near synagogue in Israel

The Jewish community in Metro Atlanta said this is hard to stomach Friday, as many of their friends and family are there right now.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 11:30 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The gunman in a tragic shooting in Israel is dead. Officials said a Palestinian gunman shot seven people to death and wounded three others near a synagogue in East Jerusalem.

The attack came as worshippers were celebrating the Jewish Sabbath and set off public celebrations for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Jewish community in metro Atlanta said this is hard to stomach Friday, as many of their friends and family are there right now.

“It was an absolute punch to the gut, seeing what took place outside of Jerusalem, a few hours ago,” said Dov Wilker, Regional Director for American Jewish Committee. “To see that at least seven people have been killed, it was probably one of the most violent terrorists attacks to take place in Israel of recent memory, especially of that type with a single gunman walking in, and shooting people in the neighborhood,” he said.

Wilker lived in Israel for five years.

“As somebody who has lived in Israel, I’ve lived in Jerusalem. I’ve lived near the neighborhood where the attack took place, it was very concerning to me,” Wilker said. “Nobody wants to see anybody murdered, especially near a synagogue, especially on a Friday night, and especially at the end of International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” he said.

“Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We commemorate the memory of six million men, women and children who were murdered for the sole reason that they were born Jewish,” said Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast. Today, when we see Jews attacked in Israel, when they are leaving the synagogue on a Friday evening, it’s a very concerning reminder that the antisemitic hate is not over,” she said.

Sultan-Dadon’s family lives near the area that was under attack.

“So, the first thing I did was call my parents to see that their home and they’re safe and I can’t help of thinking my fellow Israelis, Jerusalemites, who all they did was go to the synagogue on a Friday evening, was just attacked by a terrorist who indiscriminately targeted civilians, while they were leaving Friday evening prayer in the synagogue,” Sultan-Dadon said.

“We are heartbroken to see such an act of terror to innocent civilians.

It’s the reason why Wilker advocates every day for antisemitism to end.

“We’ve continued to see a rise in antisemitism in the United States and Georgia has not been an outlier with that. There’s probably not a single school district in metro Atlanta that hasn’t continued to face repeated antisemitism over this past 12 months,” Wilker said.

He’s hopeful that more people will understand what those in the Jewish community deal with around the world and in this community.