ISTANBUL (May. 14)
The Neve Shalom Synagogue, the scene of havoc where terrorists murdered 22 worshippers last September, will be reopened next week, the World Jewish Congress reported here.
The Chief Rabbinate of Turkey informed the WJC that the synagogue would resume services with special prayers and a ceremony on May 20 to be attended by the Turkish Minister of Interior and other local government officials. WJC representatives will also be in attendance.
Last September 6, two attackers, spraying machine gun fire and hurling hand grenades, murdered 22 worshippers at Sabbath services and turned the elegant synagogue into a charred and blood-stained slaughterhouse. Several investigative accounts placed responsibility for the massacre on the Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist group.
Work on restoring the interior, which ironically had undergone renovation just before the terrorist attack, has now been completed at this, Istanbul’s largest synagogue, whose name means “Oasis of Peace.”
Turkey’s 22,000 Jews have been relatively well treated over the centuries in a country in which 99 percent of its people are Moslems. A memorial service held after the massacre last September in Istanbul was attended by Jewish communal figures from around the world.
“The reopening of the synagogue symbolizes the courage of the Turkish Jewish community and their determination, along with all free peoples, to overcome the terrorist menace to civilized society,” the WJC stated.