Yesterday, the newly rebuilt Hurva (which means ‘ruin’ in Hebrew) Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, was rededicated.
Started in 1701, the Hurva was destroyed for the first time (by unpaid Arab creditors) in 1720. Rebuilt in 1864 by the Sultan’s architect with money from Montefiore, the Rothschilds and Jewish communities around the world, the synagogue was the tallest structure in the Jewish quarter — which is itself on a hill, making it reach higher than the al-Aqsa Mosque — it was a magnificent structure. Benjamin Balint writes,
It also was a forum for public assemblies. Here the city’s Jews held a memorial service for Queen Victoria; celebrated the coronation of King George V; thrilled to the orations of such Zionist leaders as Theodor Herzl and Zeev Jabotinsky; and, in 1942, conducted a mass prayer service for the victims of Hitler’s genocide.
Naturally, the jealous and racist Muslim world found the existence of such a Jewish structure unacceptable. In 1948, Jordanian troops overran the Jewish Quarter, expelled the Jews and blew up the Hurva. After 1967 plans were made to rebuild it, but in a gesture of misplaced generosity to Muslim sensibilities, only a memorial arch was built. After all, how could anything Jewish be allowed to overshadow the Muslim holy places?
Now it has yet again been rebuilt, in a form similar to the 18th century version. And — guess what — the Arabs are furious!
Jews have lived in the Old City since long before Muhammad was a gleam in his father’s eye, but Palestinians insist that any part of the city that was conquered and ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians in 1948 is “Arab East Jerusalem,” so they declared a “day of rage” today, complete with the usual stone- and firebomb-throwing.
In the town of El-Bireh, just south of Ramallah, Fatah also held a dedication ceremony.
A public square was dedicated to the memory of Dalal Mughrabi, the woman leader of a group of terrorists who, in 1978, perpetrated the deadliest single terrorist attack in the history of the state. Here’s how I described it in a 2008 post:
Landing on the beach near Kibbutz Maagen Michael in rubber boats launched from Lebanon, the terrorists met an American nature photographer named Gail Rubin and executed her for taking pictures of ‘Palestine’ without permission. Then they hijacked a bus carrying Egged (the bus cooperative) employees and their families on an outing; there was a shootout with security forces, the terrorists shot many of the passengers and firebombed the bus. 38 Israelis, 13 of them children, were murdered before the terrorists were killed. The event is usually called the “Coastal Road Massacre”; Israelis also call it the “Bus of Blood”.
Mughrabi is a national hero to the Palestinians. They have named girls’ schools, camps, sporting events, etc. after Mughrabi. Here is a picture of the accomplishment of this Palestinian hero: