JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s envoy to the memorial ceremonies for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims says it’s “unfair and wrong” to link the tragedy to President Donald Trump.
Naftali Bennett, the Israeli minister for diaspora affairs, lauded Trump’s support for Israel and his denunciation of anti-Semitism, saying: “With President Trump, we never have to worry if he has our backs.”
His comments late Tuesday came as Trump paid a visit to Pittsburgh amid accusations that the president’s fiery rhetoric had contributed to the climate of violence.
Israel’s envoys to the United States and the United Nations have also tried to distance Trump from the attack.
Local and national officials avoided Trump and one of the families of the 11 victims asked not to meet him.
Mayor Bill Peduto was among those officials, saying his sole focus would be on the funerals for the victims of the shooting and supporting their families. Peduto had said he hoped the president would choose to visit next week after the funerals.
- Remembering The Victims
- First Funeral Services Held For Victims Of Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
- President Trump & Family Visit Pittsburgh To Pay Respects To Synagogue Shooting Victims
- Local, National Officials Decline To Appear With Trump During Pittsburgh Visit
- Thousands Gather In Squirrel Hill For Protest Against President Trump’s Visit
Trump and first lady Melania Trump were accompanied by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner.
The four first traveled to the Tree of Life Synagogue, where they met Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, of the Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation. They spent some time inside the synagogue before placing stones on each of the 11 Star of David memorials set up outside the synagogue.
The First Family then traveled to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where shooting victims are receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered in Squirrel Hill for two different protests in opposition to Trump’s visit.
(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)