After a week of hearing Moslems say that rebuilding a synagogue in the Old City of Jeusalem is a provocation–and the canard that it is on top of a mosque–here is the real saga of the Hurva, a very Jewish tale.
After four years of construction, the Jewish Quarter’s landmark Hurva Synagogue – first built by Polish Jews in 1701, destroyed by Arab creditors two decades later, rebuilt in 1864 by followers of the Vilna Gaon, and dynamited in 1948 by Jordan’s Arab Legion – was re-dedicated on March 15-16, 2010. All the rest is commentary.
The newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue, destroyed by the Jordanian army in 1948 will finally be rededicated next week.
The house of worship was first built in the early 1700s, burned down in 1720, and rebuilt in 1864. Built in the center of the Jewish Quarter, it dominated the Jerusalem skyline (along with the Tiferes Yisrael synagogue.)
but of course good news is a provocation that the Arabs want… and Obama enabled. Today they were throwing Molotov Cocktails at the police.
Naturally, the Muslims are furious at Jews daring to rebuild a synagogue in a spot that they had lived continuously for well over two thousand years. As I reported a few months ago, what really bugged them was the height of the structure, because in Islamic tradition mosques should always be the tallest buildings in the area. Since the Jewish Quarter is on a hill, the Hurva dome will be higher than the domes on the Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock.
Now, however, they have a new reason to seethe. Ever since Ha’aretz reported a (pretty much unfounded) rumor that the Vilna Gaon had predicted that the Third Temple would be built on March 16, 2010, they have been convinced that Israel has evil plans. Saraya, the Islamic Jihad newspaper, says that Hurva is being built on an Islamic neighborhood, and says that the construction of the Third Temple will commence on March 16th. The Al Aqsa Heritage Foundation says that the Hurva dedication will take place on Sunday and Monday, also to be followed by the public start of the building of the Third Temple, as well as more Jews “storming” Al Aqsa for Passover at the end of the month.
As the Hurva’s construction crane was being taken down – and freeing the largest square in the crowded Jewish Quarter – Arazi launched into the synagogue’s convoluted story, hailing the many figures responsible for the rebuilding. In 1999, he explained, a public committee was formed by then Minister of Housing, Rabbi Yitzhak Levi and headed by Rabbi Simha Hacohen Kook with the intention of recreating the building whose famous dome once dominated the skyline of the Jewish Quarter.