President Isaac Herzog sent his condolences to the American people on Tuesday after the deadly shooting during a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb that left at least seven people dead and dozens injured.
“I want to express my deepest condolences and shock at yesterday’s lethal mass shooting at the 4th of July Parade in Highland Park,” Herzog said speaking at an event at the U.S. Embassy. United in Jerusalem to mark American Independence Day.
“Sadly, we, the people of Israel, know all too well the reality of happy occasions tainted by sorrow. Evil characters who choose to attack the innocent in their most joyful moments,” the president said. “In the name of State of Israel, I offer our condolences to the families of the victims and pray for the recovery of the injured.
Earlier on Tuesday, the head of Israeli diplomacy in the American Midwest revealed that no less than four members of the Jewish community were among the seven victims.
Consul General in Chicago Yinam Cohen told The Times of Israel that his office had confirmed that two of the victims were Jewish and that there were “indications” that two other of the victims may also be Jewish. Highland Park, where Monday’s shooting took place, has a large Jewish community, making up a third of the affluent town’s approximately 30,000 residents.
As of Tuesday evening, six of the victims had been identified, including married couple Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacki Sundheim, 63; Etienne Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78 years old. All of the victims were from Highland Park except for Toledo-Zaragoza, who was visiting family in the city of Morelos, Mexico.
So far, only one of the victims, Jacki Sundheim, has been publicly identified as Jewish. Sundheim was the events and b’nei mitzvah coordinator at a nearby Reform synagogue, North Shore Congregation Israel.
Cohen told Channel 12 that “despite rumors [to the contrary]…everything indicates that there are no Israelis among the dead.
When asked if the attack targeted the Jewish community, Cohen said it didn’t appear to be the case. “There is currently no indication that this was an anti-Semitic incident, although the profile of the attacker could be considered to fit such an incident.”
The suspect has been identified as Robert (Bobby) E. Crimo III, a 22-year-old man who regularly posted content glorifying violence on his social media. He was charged on Tuesday with seven counts of murder.
In addition to killing seven people, Crimo is believed to have injured at least 31 others, some seriously, when he opened fire on the parade from the roof of a business, sending people fleeing in terror. hundreds of walkers, parents with pushchairs and children on bicycles.
During his speech, Herzog also praised the close ties between Israel and the United States and said the country looked forward to the upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden.
“The Israeli and American peoples are bound by a deep kinship, which overcomes disagreements and transcends political affiliations,” he said.
“The close strategic alliance that Israel and the United States share, especially in the areas of defense and regional security, is a fundamental pillar of our bilateral relationship,” Herzog said. “We will never take this partnership or this friendship for granted. The remarkable American Jewish community is also a vital part of the American mosaic.
Jacob Magid contributed to this report