Israeli leaders send condolence messages in Newtown massacre


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli leaders sent letters of condolence to President Obama over the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"On behalf of the people of Israel, as friends and as parents, we stand with you today in contemplation and grief over the atrocious, incomprehensible massacre of 20 children and six adults — educators — at Sandy Hook Elementary School," Israeli President Shimon Peres wrote. "No experience with death can be likened to that of a parents’ loss of their child. No crime is more heinous than the killing of a child."

Twenty children, including a Jewish boy — 6-year-old Noah Pozner — and six school employees, were killed Friday when Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into the building and opened fire. Lanza, who had attended the Sandy Hook school, also killed his mother, Nancy, in the home they shared.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a letter sent Friday that he was "shocked and horrified by today’s savage massacre of innocent children and adults" at the school.

"We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring," Netanyahu wrote. "I want to express my profound grief, and that of all the people in Israel, to the families that lost their loved ones. May you and the American people find the strength to overcome this unspeakable tragedy."

In a video message posted on YouTube, Netanyahu addressed the American people, saying, "The people of Israel grieve with you. I can only pray that God will give you the strength, as he has given us, to overcome the tragedy and go on living."

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