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Turkish Jews Fearful

March 25, 2009
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“We are afraid to walk down the street, as the atmosphere is very tense. Slogans supporting the Palestinians and against Israel are plastered on walls everywhere, and Palestinian flags can be seen all around. A Palestinian flag was even hung opposite the great synagogue in the Neve Shalom neighborhood where the major bombing occurred.

“Anti-Israel graffiti has been sprayed on Jewish-owned stores and Judaica stores. We are very reluctant to get out of the house these days. On Shabbat, the great synagogue stood almost empty. Many were worried that someone might hurt them, even though police security has been massively boosted. Everywhere, in every street corner and on every TV show, people talk of only one thing: Gaza.

“A minute of silence in memory of the Palestinian victims was held in all the schools. My friends’ children felt very uncomfortable when they were asked to attend. They were also asked to donate money to the injured children in Gaza. Jewish families feel very strange with the kids bringing those envelops home. The parents know that if they don’t send money with their children, they could suffer at school.

“The war in Gaza and Prime Minister Erdogan’s statements created a very unpleasant atmosphere for the Jews here, especially for the youth and children. At schools and in our workplaces, we are confronted with harsh criticism about ‘what your people have been doing in Gaza.’

“The hostility is felt not only from radical Muslims, but also from seculars, who are very critical. This has caused many of us to think of leaving Turkey and making aliyah [immigration] to Israel.”

By Yedioth Abronoth, Ynetnews.com


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