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'Rededication' of Old City synagogue raises timing questions

March 15, 2010 1:13 P.M. (Updated: March 16, 2010 9:33 A.M.)
Jerusalem – Ma'an – Personal status courts in the West Bank and Jerusalem will strike Monday and Tuesday in protest over the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue, officials announced.

The ceremonies at the synagogue, 330 meters away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, have been called a “provocation” in the wake of an Israeli raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the declaration of two Palestinian mosques as “Israeli heritage sites” on 21 February.

“The synagogue is not located near the Temple Mount compound,” an Israeli government news release replied to the accusations.

The statement also highlighted the history of the synagogue, destroyed during the 1948 war and reconstructed in 2005. The statement did not comment on the timing of the rededication. A correction was later issued by the office, "Correction: The name of the Hurva (ruins) Synagogue was acquired in 1721 after the original, unfinished building was destroyed in a riot, not in 1948 following the Jordanian destruction."

The Palestinian Higher Judicial Council, headed by Supreme Judge Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, released a statement calling on “Palestinian people everywhere, especially those who live in Jerusalem and in other cities inside Israel,” to head to Jerusalem to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups, which the statement said planned a raid on the compound following the synagogue rededication.

Tamimi accused Israeli leaders of plotting to lay the cornerstone of the “Third Temple,” following the rededication, in what he called the first move in the planned destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

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