Anti-Israel protestors kick doors of Istanbul synagogue

(JTA) – Leaders of Turkish Jewry condemned anti-Israel demonstrators who rallied around a synagogue in Istanbul, kicking the building’s doors and hurling objects at it.

The Turkish Jewish Community on Twitter called the incident Thursday night outside the Neve Shalom synagogue, where several dozen men gathered with anti-Israel signs, “intimidation and provocation.” It called on authorities to make sure it “stops” and that the people responsible are prosecuted for a hate crime.

The protesters came to demonstrate against the decision by Israeli authorities to position metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, according to the Hurriyet daily. The devices were placed at the site, where the Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock are situated, after three Palestinian terrorists shot and killed two police officers there on July 14.

One man, who identified himself as Kürşat Mican, told reporters at the synagogue: “The Zionists prevent our brethren freedom of worship. We are here to block you from your freedom of worship. No matter if we are stopped here today, we will come tomorrow. No one can enter here.”

Photographs of the incident show some of the demonstrators toss the signs they carried at the synagogue doors.

Murat Yetkin, a Turkish journalist and columnist for Hurriyet, condemned the incident.

Reactions to Israel’s actions “should not be directed towards the Jewish community, a part of Turkish society, citizens, with the threat of violence,” he wrote.

Reacting to the incident, Celal Altuntas, a Turkish dissident author living in the Netherlands, wrote on Twitter that “the Jewish community in Turkey does not feel safe.”

Ivo Molinas, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Jewish community newspaper, wrote on Twitter: “I am a Turkish citizen. Why do you protest outside my place of worship?”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also condemned the incident.

“We condemn the protests at the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul. We trust the Turkish Government will provide necessary security,” ADL wrote on Twitter.

Turkey has approximately 20,000 Jews.


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