A Pittsburgh police officer who responded to the Pittsburgh mass shooting and was wounded is to be recognized in the U.S. president’s address.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
Holocaust survivor Judah Samet, who narrowly escaped last year’s deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, has been invited by U.S. President Donald Trump to be one of his personal guests at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
In its statement, the White House notes that Samet survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel, where he lived in 1948 when the State of Israel was declared. He then served in the IDF Paratroopers Brigade, before leaving in 1960 for the United States.
A resident of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood who turns 81 on Tuesday, Samet was invited by the White House through the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.
The White House also invited Pittsburgh police Officer Timothy Matson, 41, who was shot more than a half-dozen times inside the Tree of Life synagogue during the October 27th massacre that left 11 people dead and seven injured.
Samet was born in Hungary and survived the Bergen-Belsen death camp. He came a few minutes late to the Shabbat service at the congregation. He says that by the time he pulled into a handicapped parking space at the synagogue, he could hear shooting and was urged by another man to leave the area. He stayed in his car and watched the accused gunman, Robert Bowers, engage in a shootout with police outside the building.
Samet said his invitation includes a noon meeting with President Trump in the White House’s Oval Office.
“I’m going to say a Jewish blessing that you say only when you meet a head of state,” he told Trib Live, a local news outlet.
Samet describes himself as a Trump supporter.
“I like him very much. He is strongly pro-Israel,” Samet said. “That a man would go outright for Israel and declare for Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel … that was something new.”
Pittsburgh Public Safety officials said Matson’s acceptance of the White House invitation had nothing to do with politics.
The department is “honored that Officer Matson, on behalf of all city first responders, is being recognized for his life-saving efforts,” said spokesman Chris Togneri.