Anti-Israel protests held outside Istanbul synagogues

Anti-Israel protests held outside Istanbul synagogues

Ahrida and Neve Shalom synagogues targeted by demonstrators in the same week, drawing criticism from the Turkish Prime Minister

Neve Shalom Synagogue
Neve Shalom Synagogue

For the second time in less than a week, protesters demonstrated against Israel outside a synagogue in Istanbul.

The latest incident reported in the Turkish media occurred on Saturday outside the Ahrida Synagogue on the European side of the Turkish city, in the north of the neighbourhood of Fatih, which is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements in Turkey.

On Thursday, protesters showed up at the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, where they kicked the front door and hurled objects at it. Leaders of Turkish Jews condemned the targeting of synagogues to protest Israel’s actions. Following a deadly terrorist attack against Israel police officers near the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Israel temporarily limited access to the holy site for men under 50 and placed metal detectors at the entrance to it.

Responding to the Turkish Jewish Community’s protests, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Sunday said in a statement to the media that, while “limiting Muslims’ access to Al Aqsa mosque for whatever reason is an unacceptable mistake that Turkey expects Israel to undo immediately,” the Turkish government “does not agree with actions actions outside places of worship of Jewish citizens.”

Yıldırım said the government “expects on all citizens exercise self restraint.” The short statement did not say what would happen to those who do live up to the government’s expectation.

At the Ahrida synagogue, which is one of the country’s oldest, at least 29 men gathered Saturday carrying signs with anti-Israel slogans and a cardboard structure meant to symbolise an x-ray machine, the Haberler news  website reported. The demonstration was over Israel’s decision last week to put up metal detectors at the entrance to the eastern Jerusalem area that Jews call the Temple Mount and that Muslims call Haram al Sharif.

Synagogues, which have been targeted by Islamists and other terrorists in Turkey in the past, are heavily guarded in Istanbul by police. To enter Istanbul’s main synagogues, including Neve Shalom, visitors must obtain the permission of the Jewish community prior to arriving there. The fact that demonstrators were able to gather outside the synagogues and stage protests there is highly unusual for Istanbul.

The placing of metal detectors outside the Temple Mount followed the slaying of two police officers by three Arab-Israel terrorists who also were killed in the July 14 incident. Several Palestinians died in riots over the past week and three Jews were murdered in the West Bank settlement of Halamish inside their home by a Palestinian terrorist.

On Sunday, a security officer of the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, killed a man that Israel’s foreign ministry says had come to carry out a terrorist attack at the compound. Approximately 30 people were besieged in the embassy Monday due to the Jordanian authorities desire to detain and question embassy staff, who have diplomatic immunity under international treaties.

read more: