Chief Rabbi: Talk about new temple a lie
Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger sent a calming message to the Muslim world Monday, amid tensions over the inauguration of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem.Torah scrolls were brought to the building yesterday in preparation for today's rededication, and the Palestinian Authority seized the opportunity to raise tensions.
Metzger and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz both set the mezuzah at the synagogue jambs earlier in the afternoon.
"Pay no attention to malicious slander. All we are doing is resurrecting the 'Hurva,' which was destroyed 60 years ago. We have no intention of rebuilding the temple, not this week – unless the Almighty God descends it from the heavens," said the chief rabbi during the inauguration ceremony.
"All the rumors that suggest we will later march on Temple Mount are just that – rumors. A media spin by anti-Semites that wish us harm."
Hundreds of people took part in a ceremony bringing a new Torah scroll into the restored Hurva Synagogue in the Old City's Jewish Quarter on Sunday. The ceremony in east Jerusalem was held under heavy security after the Palestinian Authority joined the Islamic Movement in its calls for Muslims to flock to the al-Aqsa Mosque in response to extremist Jews' plans to lay a cornerstone at the Temple Mount.Right-wingers were apparently planning a march around the Old City tomorrow, but the police have now banned the march.
Extreme rightists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel were also on hand for the ceremony, during which a Torah scroll was placed in the restored synagogue.
Earlier Sunday, Hatem Abdel Kader, the Fatah official in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio, urged Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel to declare their plans to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City and barricade themselves there starting Monday.
Meanwhile, police have declared they will not allow the Israeli rightists to go through with their plans to lay a cornerstone at the site.
In order to minimize friction between the two religions on the Temple Mount, the police decided to cancel a right-wing marched "around the gates of the Temple Mount" planned for Tuesday. Thousands of people were slated to partake in the march. Rightist officials were outraged by the cancellation. Similar marches, during which participants sing and dance around the complex and stop to pray at each gate, have been held on the first of the Hebrew month for nine years running.