JERUSALEM (JTA) — The rededication of an Old City synagogue took place without incident.
More than 3,000 Israeli police were deployed in Jerusalem on Monday for fear that the rededication of the restored Hurva Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, would spark Arab rioting.
Rabbis Yona Metzger, the chief rabbi of Israel, and Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, together placed the mezuzah on the synagogue door post.
"Pay no attention to malicious slander. All we are doing is resurrecting the Hurva that was destroyed 60 years ago," Metzger said. "All the rumors that suggest we will later march on Temple Mount are just that — rumors."
On Sunday, amid heavy security, hundreds of people took part in a ceremony to bring a new Torah scroll into the synagogue.
Palestinian leaders had called on Israeli Arabs to flock to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to protect it, distributing pamphlets claiming that the rededication was the first step toward the construction of a Third Holy Temple.
The Islamic Movement sent dozens of buses full of Israeli Arabs from around the country to Jerusalem on Monday, Ynet reported.
Khatem Abd el-Kader, the Fatah official responsible for Jerusalem, encouraged Palestinians to “converge on al Aksa to save it” from “Israeli attempts to destroy the mosque and replace it with the [Jewish] temple.” He called the synagogue rededication a “provocation,” cautioning that Israel is “playing with fire.”
The unfinished Hurva Synagogue, whose name means ruins, was destroyed in an Arab riot in 1721. It was rebuilt in the 1860s, but destroyed again after Jordan took control of the area in the 1948 war.
Reconstruction of the synagogue began in 2005, funded by the Israeli government and a private donor.