Istanbul: Synagogue Offers Worshipers Helmets For Protection Against Jihadists

From YNet:
After two deadly terror attacks in the city, Beth Israel has taken a most unusual step; worshipers say local Jews live in fear, and no longer walk around in public wearing their skullcaps.

As fears grow of terror attacks in Turkey, one synagogue in Istanbul has come up with an unorthodox solution. Worshipers at Beth Israel Synagogue are invited to take a pew, and help themselves to the helmet placed under each seat.

The Beth Israel Synagogue is the only shul in the world in which worshipers pray with helmets at hand for their protection. A member of the congregation said the helmets were introduced after the series of terror attack were carried out against the Jewish community in Istanbul in 2003. Two car bombs—one near the Neve Shalom Synagogue and another near the Beth Israel Synagogue — claimed the lives of 23 people in total. In addition, 303 people were wounded, 100 of whom were Jews.

A group of ultra-Orthodox worshipers from Israel were allowed to pray in the Beth Israel Synagogue only after undergoing a strict security inspection. When they entered the synagogue, they were amazed to see the helmets underneath every pew.

Beth Israel’s worshipers say that Jews in Istanbul live in fear, refraining from walking around with skullcaps. “Synagogues in Istanbul look like fortified military bases,” one worshiper said.

With relations between the once-friendly Ankara and Jerusalem in decline, anti-Semitism in Turkey is on the rise…..

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