U.S. President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his condolences over the “heartbreaking” tragedy at Mount Meron that left 45 dead and 150 wounded.
“The United States stands with the people of Israel, and with Jewish communities the world over, in mourning the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron,” Biden said.
Biden said that the “loss of life among worshipers practicing their faith is heartbreaking” and that he has instructed his team to offer any assistance it can provide. The president also said he is working to confirm reports that U.S. citizens may have lost their lives or were wounded.
“The people of the United States and Israel are bound together by our families, our faiths, and our histories, and we will stand with our friends. Our prayers are with those who were injured and all those who lost loved ones. May their memories be a blessing,” the president said.
Netanyahu thanked Biden as well as other world leaders who shared in their grief.
“I thank him on your behalf, citizens of Israel. I also thank [Russian] President Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European leaders, and leaders in the Arab world — from Bahrain, the Emirates and many other leaders who share the grief of all Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also phoned his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, telling him that the U.S. “stands ready to assist Israel during this difficult time.”
“[Blinken] reiterated that – just as this is a tragedy for both of our countries – the bond between the United States and Israel is ironclad, and that the United States mourns the lives lost alongside Israel,” according to a State Department readout.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that at least four U.S. citizens are among the dead, including 21-year-old Yossi Kohn of Cleveland Heights.
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