Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger sent a calming message to the Muslim world Monday, amid tensions over the inauguration of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem.
Metzger and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz both set the mezuzah at the synagogue jambs earlier in the afternoon.
"Pay no attention to malicious slander. All we are doing is resurrecting the 'Hurva,' which was destroyed 60 years ago. We have no intention of rebuilding the temple, not this week – unless the Almighty God descends it from the heavens," said the chief rabbi during the inauguration ceremony.
"All the rumors that suggest we will later march on Temple Mount are just that – rumors. A media spin by anti-Semites that wish us harm."
The new Hurva Synagogue (Photo: Noam Moskovitz)
Knesset Member Danny Danon (Likud) also attended the ceremony and protested the controversy sparked by the decision to reopen the synagogue.
"Nothing is more in the heart of the Israeli consensus as building a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter," he said, "But anything Jewish immediately sparks controversy. We have to tell our American friends – 'keep your hands off Jerusalem and afford Jews their right to pray in the Old City.'"
The reconstruction of Hurva Synagogue, he continued, "symbolized the renewed construction in Jerusalem… The Palestinian Authority turns every project in the capital into an international incident, and unfortunately it was able to do that concerning Ramat Shlomo. We cannot walk into that trap."