Conference of Presidents Leaders Condemn Rock Throwing Demonstrations Outside Neve Shalom Largest Synagogue in Istanbul and Regret Decision to Close Synagogue to Sabbath Services: We Expect the Turkish Government to Protect the Synagogue and Worshippers

New York, NY . . . Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement in response to the threatening demonstration in Istanbul yesterday in which rocks were reportedly thrown at the Neve Shalom synagogue during a protest against essential security measures initiated by Israel in the wake of a deadly attack on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount last week:

“We condemn the threats and acts of rock throwing during demonstrations yesterday at Istanbul’s Neve Shalom synagogue, the largest Synagogue in Turkey and a center of Jewish religious life. 

The threats and acts of violence continued today and, sadly, have led to the unprecedented decision to close the synagogue to Sabbath services this weekend.

There is never any justification for threatening a synagogue and the Jews who come to pray there, particularly when it is a reaction to steps taken by Israel to protect the safety and ensure freedom of worship for Muslims at holy sites in Jerusalem.  As Israel’s President Rivlin told President Erdogan when they spoke last night, Israel suffered a deadly terror attack on the Temple Mount and ‘. . . the steps taken on the Temple Mount were intended to ensure that such acts of terror could not be repeated . . .’  President Rivlin also assured President Erdogan ‘. . . that Israel was committed to safeguarding the lives of all the citizens who visited the holy places.’

President Erdogan has spoken of his commitment to protecting the rights of the Turkish Jewish community and we call on trust the Turkish government to take the needed precautions to continue to protect the synagogue and the Jewish community.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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