Friday, April 09, 2010

Myths and Facts: "The re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue is an affront to Palestinians."

From Myths and Facts Online -- reposted with permission.

MYTH: "The re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue is an affront to Palestinians." 

On March 14, 2010, The Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was re-dedicated. Palestinians used the occasion as a pretext to stir tensions and claim that Israel has designs on the Temple Mount, intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the ancient Jewish Temple. The incitement provoked violent protests in which Palestinians burned tires and threw rocks in East Jerusalem.370 Lies about Jewish threats to the Temple Mount go back nearly a century and are a proven tactic for rallying Arabs throughout the region against Israel.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson PJ Crowley immediately responded to this latest fabrication: "We are deeply disturbed by statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which can only serve to heighten the tensions we see. And we call upon Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement."371

The Hurva Synagogue was first built in 1701 by Rabbi Judah the Pious and his followers after the previous Ashkenazi synagogue of Jerusalem fell into disrepair. After Rabbi Judah died, the congregation was unable to pay their Muslim creditors, who burned down the Synagogue. It was rebuilt between the years of 1855 and 1864 with support from Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov (a disciple of the Gaon of Vilna), Britain, Austria, Sir Moses Montefiore, the Rothschilds and Jewish communities from around the world. It even had the support of the Ottoman Empire, as its chief architect, Assad Effendi, was commissioned to design the building. The Hurva Synagogue stood until May 1948, when it was packed with explosives and blown up by the Jordanian army.372

The Hurva Synagogue is a house of worship that dates back 300 years. It is not even within sight of the Temple Mount so the renovation had no impact on Muslim shrines. Its re-dedication is a proud moment for Jewish people around the world and should not be twisted by Israel's detractors into yet another anti-Semitic blood libel meant to prevent peace.
To access the links in the article, check out the original version.


370 "Palestinians Riot to Protest Synagogue Reopening," CNN, (March 16, 2010).

371 Abe Selig and Hilary Leila Krieger, "Hurva Is Again a House of Prayer," Jerusalem Post, (March 16, 2010).

372 "The Hurva's Symbolism," Jerusalem Post, (March 14, 2010).

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