Old City synagogue opened amid heightened tensions
After PA urges Muslims to barricade themselves in Al-Aqsa Mosque, hundreds of Jews take part in ceremony bringing new Torah scroll to restored shul in Jewish Quarter. 'If this angers Obama, Netanyahu should choose a different partner,' celebrator says
Hundreds of people took part in a ceremony bringing a new Torah scroll into the restored Hurva Synagogue in the Old City's Jewish Quarter on Sunday. The ceremony in east Jerusalem was held under heavy security after the Palestinian Authority joined the Islamic Movement in its calls for Muslims to flock to the al-Aqsa Mosque in response to extremist Jews' plans to lay a cornerstone at the Temple Mount.
Among the celebrators was Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), who criticized the prime minister, saying, "(Benjamin) Netanyahu, who crushed his own national backbone and is leading to the division of Jerusalem, should have come here to draw strength from Hurva's restoration and display power instead of compromising Jerusalem's unity."
Torah scroll brought to Hurva Synagogue (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Extreme rightists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel were also on hand for the ceremony, during which a Torah scroll was placed in the restored synagogue.
The synagogue's dedication took place amid harsh criticism leveled at Israel, mainly by the US, over its decision to approve the construction of 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem prior to the launching of indirect talks with the Palestinians.
One of the Jewish celebrators told Ynet, "We are here to say to the world that all of Jerusalem will remain ours for eternity. If the dedication of a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter angers the Obama Administration, then Netanyahu should choose another partner."
Earlier Sunday, Hatem Abdel Kader, the Fatah official in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio, urged Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel to declare their plans to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City and barricade themselves there starting Monday.
Meanwhile, police have declared they will not allow the Israeli rightists to go through with their plans to lay a cornerstone at the site.