The Jewish community in New Zealand decided to close the synagogue on Saturday for the first time ever, in solidarity with the country's Muslim community after 49 people were killed in a massacre of two mosques in Christchurch, the newspaper The Times of Israel reported.
“For the first time in history synagogues in NZ are closed on Shabbat following the shocking massacre of Muslims in Christchurch,” Tweeted Isaac Herzog, head of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
“The Jewish Agency and the NZ Jewish Council stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. We are united in fighting violent hatred and racism,” he said.
“We offer our full assistance and support to the Muslim community and stand united with it against the scourge of terrorism and racism, which we must do all we can to banish from New Zealand,” Stephen Goodman, the president of the New Zealand Jewish Council told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Statements of support also came from the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand and other leading organizations in New Zealand.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder expressed “horror and revulsion” at the attacks in a statement.