A Palestinian terrorist struck the Mercaz Harav yeshiva as a deliberate ideological blow to Israel, Ehud Olmert said.
“The attacker didn’t come to Mercaz Harav yeshiva by chance. It was not a place the killer just happened upon while looking for would-be victims,” the Israeli prime minister told his Cabinet in broadcast statements Sunday, calling the seminary “the flagship of national religious Zionism.”
Israel has yet to formally blame any terrorist group for Thursday’s shooting spree, in which eight students and the Palestinian gunman died, though media reports suggest Hamas and Hezbollah are the main suspects.
Olmert, a former Jerusalem mayor who after joining the government angered many religious Zionists by arguing that the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank should be ceded to the Palestinians, said Israeli national outrage at the gun attack transcends politics.
“The yeshiva is a special place in Jerusalem,” he said. “I know the yeshiva and its students well, and Israel has great appreciation for it. Regardless of any differences of opinion, we are all part of this pain.”