(IsraelNN.com) A Turkish newspaper reports that police burst into an Istanbul synagogue during recent Sabbath services and demanded worshipers’ ID’s.The Turkish Milliyet newspaper reported that the Muslim government in Turkey appears to be cracking down on non-Muslim minorities. The individual communities are not being permitted to have their own leaders; one person will be recognized by the government to represent all the minorities as one. As the Christian community outnumbers the Jewish one, it is expected that a Christian will serve as “Chief Rabbi.”In addition, Christian and Jewish children are being placed in separate non-Muslim public school classes. In Jewish schools, only Turkish citizens are allowed to be registered – preventing the son of a Jewish United States consul worker from studying in a Jewish school.Finally, Turkish authorities raided the Hemdat Yisrael synagogue in Istanbul one Sabbath morning, the most crowded day of the week, and demanded that worshipers produce identification and proof of residence. Most worshipers did not have the required papers because of Sabbath restrictions, but were allowed to produce them at the conclusion of the Sabbath.
Leaders of several minority religious communities convened for an emergency meeting last month to discuss the worsening situation.Rabbi Yitzchak Haleva, Chief Rabbi of Turkey, says it’s “much ado about nothing.” Speaking with Israeli media sources last week, Rabbi Haleva said that all misunderstandings had been resolved and that he himself will be running for re-election for the position of Chief Rabbi about two months from now. Regarding the mid-services Sabbath check of ID’s, Rabbi Haleva told Makor Rishon’s Yitzchak Hildesheimer that it was only a matter having to do with internal security.A Turkish Jew quoted on Ynet did not sound confident, however: “Everyone here is apathetic, they are involved in their own business and their work – but we do feel that the situation has changed, even though it is being ignored. It is reminiscent of other periods in history…”Turkey Recalls US Ambassador
Turkey recalled its ambassador to the U.S. last week after the narrowly approved a resolution recognizing the Turkish slaughter of Armenians during World War I as genocide. The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabiye editorialized that the “Jewish lobby” in Washington is to blame for the resolution.
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