Anti-israel protest in Istanbul. Like in France?
Photo: Reuters

Turkey's chief rabbi: Navy raid a provocation

Rabbi Isak Haleva says no hostility against Jewish community on Turkey's streets, accuses Israel of 'acting inappropriately' against Gaza-bound flotilla

Turkey's Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva slammed Israel on Tuesday over the deadly results of the Navy raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, accusing the Jewish state of engaging in an unnecessary provocation and inappropriate behavior.


The rabbi praised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who he said was making a clear distinction between the State of Israel and the Jews of his country and ensuring their safety.


"Israel's security comes first, but it must act more cautiously and do things wisely," Haleva told haredi radio station "Kol Harama", noting that "Israel must act in an appropriate manner."


He added that the incident which took place early Monday was "nothing but a provocation… Israel should not have drawn the entire world's negative voices… I believe it acted inappropriately."


The interviewer accused Turkey's chief rabbi of being pro-Palestinian and tried to confront him with the IDF claims about the chain of events in high seas, but Haleva replied that "the other side must be taken into consideration as well."


He went on to say that "this is a political matter which we shouldn't intervene in", and said that he was "praying for world peace, that everyone will live in peace, serenity and calmness."


Haleva, who was elected chief rabbi by the Turkish government, said there was no hostility in the country's streets against the local Jewish community members.


"There is no rioting against the Jews, God forbid," he said. "There is nothing, no worries. There was a protest just like in France, and that’s all."


The rabbi denied that the relations between the two people have deteriorated during Erdogan's term, and praised the Turkish prime minister three times during the interview for not changing his attitude towards the Jews in his country in light of the conflict with Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 06.02.10, 16:30
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