Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto honored Tree of Life victims in Israel
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spent time in Israel last week honoring 11 victims killed in the Tree of Life murders.
The mayor said he talked to government officials about security measures and mayors from around the world about anti-Semitism during a four-day visit to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the 33rd annual Israel International Mayor’s Conference. He also spent time honoring the memories of those killed in the Squirrel Hill synagogue on Oct. 27.
“I can just tell you this, No. 1: The people of Israel are extremely proud of the people of Pittsburgh,” Peduto said Monday. “The way that we responded to the (Jewish) community at that moment was something that was not experienced in the past with crimes of anti-Semitism. It was recognized and appreciated by the people of Israel.”
Peduto visited a memorial in Jerusalem for the Tree of Life victims and planted an olive tree there in their memory.
He also delivered prayers for several of the victims at Jerusalem’s Western Wall at the request of the victims’ families.
“I was really there on a global understanding that hate speech leads to hate crime, and no matter what religion you are it’s important to understand that we can make a difference if we intervene early,” he said.
Made a special visit to the 9-11 Memorial in Jerusalem, where they have created a second Memorial. This one is for the victims of Tree of Life. Planted an olive tree in their memory. pic.twitter.com/M6OK9DigAw
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) February 24, 2019
The visit also served another purpose.
“To be able to talk openly about anti-Semitism and all hate with mayors from around the world and to be able to take some time to visit a holy land for the 11 people to make sure they are remembered in Israel as they are in Pittsburgh,” Peduto said.
In Tel Aviv, Peduto met with government officials and visited a security control center in the basement of city hall.
“There’s a reason you don’t see soldiers with machine guns in Tel Aviv anymore,” he said. “It’s because their surveillance defense is such a better deterrent. We studied everything from drone technology, to surveillance to censor detections, to all the different technology that is being utilized in Israel right now.”
He said Pittsburgh can’t immediately afford such equipment, but he would consider the possibility for future use.
“The technology is so far advanced and available, readily available to cities, that we can combine it in a way that will allow for privacy to still be there, but at the same time be predictive in knowing when something’s wrong,” he said. “It means that censors can be developed so that we know if somebody is putting their foot over a rail on a bridge, or if they’re dropping a package and then walking away.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .