Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger called to solve the hardships of the Palestinians of Gaza by setting up a state for them in the Sinai. In an interview that appeared in the January 24 issue of the British weekly The Jewish News, the chief rabbi also said that while peaceable Arabs should be allowed to pray in Jerusalem mosques, they should recognize that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. "Muslims have Mecca and Medina," Metzger was quoted as saying. "You don't need a third place." Metzger said that Britain, the European Union and the US should assist in the construction of a Palestinian state in the Sinai. According to Metzger, the plan would be to "take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains, buses, cars, like in Arizona - we are now in a generation where you can take a desert and build a city. This will be a solution... they will have a nice county, and we shall have our country and we shall live in peace." In the interview, Metzger also described Jerusalem as "the capital city forever for the Jewish nation." He argued that Muslims have no connection to Jerusalem commenting that "behind the Kotel we have a mosque. But when they pray even though they are in our holiest place, they face Mecca. Their back is to Jerusalem." Metzger's spokesman said Monday that the chief rabbi first thought of the idea during a trip to Sderot, adding Metzger's comments on Jerusalem also seemed in line with his opinions.