Turkish chief rabbi: The Jewish community is on edge

After deadly Istanbul airport attack, Rabbi Yitzhak Haliva says the authorities are doing their utmost to protect Turkey's Jewish community.

By MOR SHIMONI/MAARIV
June 29, 2016 15:08
2 minute read.
Turkish terror attack

Men greet each other in front of Turkish flag and picture of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Istanbul Ataturk airport, Turkey, following yesterday's blast June 29, 2016. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

"As is the case with every tragedy that happens in the world, the Jewish community is on edge," Turkish Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Haliva said Wednesday in the aftermath of the terror attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in which 41 people were killed.

Rabbi Haliva said that Turkey's Jews feel the pain of those who were harmed in the attack and are praying for the wounded.

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Despite the incident, and other terror attacks that have recently struck Turkey, Haliva said that the Jewish community "feels protected by the government, just like all Turkish citizens do."

The heads of the Jewish community in Turkey are in contact with government officials, he said.

According to Haliva, there are tight security arrangements for the community. "We are protected under the defense of the Turkish state. Security officials are doing their job well.

The rabbi said that the community had not received any special instructions in the aftermath of Tuesday's attack.  "Life is continuing normally."

Israel's Consul General in Turkey, Shai Cohen, said that there had been cooperation with Turkish authorities to ensure that all of the Israelis in Istanbul at the time of the attack were accounted for and flights were arranged for those who missed connecting flights.

Cohen addressed the atmosphere in Istanbul following the triple suicide bombing, saying that the city was getting back to normal.

"Flights had already begun to get back on track by 5 a.m. Now flights are completely back to normal with a flight leaving every five minutes."

Cohen added, however, that dealing with the terrorist threat in the country was difficult. "The terror which is striking Turkey, whether it's directed at Jews or not, is not easy to deal with. However, there is now a consensus that we need to wage a decisive battle, with greater international cooperation than we are used to."

Regarding security precautions in the wake of the attack, Cohen said that the Consul always operates amid heightened security.

Cohen also addressed the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey which was approved by the security cabinet on Wednesday. "For the past year we have been in a situation of opening doors and have been working hard to lay the groundwork for future cooperation in civilian fields such as finance, trade, academics and innovation."

This work on the ground was taking place in parallel to diplomatic negotiations, Cohen said. "We have been working in Israel and in Ankara to ensure that the infrastructure of relations will be as wide as possible. I think we are in a good situation. Botturkh countries are prepared to improve relations in all of these fields, and to strengthen ties."


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