Israel’s president sends thanks to Jews in Turkey, offers assistance

Marcy Oster

Emergency services inspecting the area following a suicide bombing in a major shopping and tourist district in the central part of Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Emergency services inspecting the area following a suicide bombing in central Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2016. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Reuven Rivlin of Israel offered assistance to the Jewish community of Turkey in the aftermath of the Istanbul terror attack that killed three Israelis and reports of planned ISIS attacks on Jewish targets.

On Tuesday, Rivlin spoke by telephone with İshak İbrahimzadeh, president of the Jewish community of Turkey, the president’s office said in a statement. The president expressed his gratitude to Ibrahimzadeh for his community’s assistance to the injured in the March 19 attack and the families of those killed. The attack may have targeted an Israeli tour group.

“Thank you for your care; you reminded us that ‘all Jews are brothers,’” Rivlin said.

Along with the three Israelis, one Iranian national died in the Istanbul attack.


Rivlin also expressed concern for the Jews of Turkey in the wake of a Sky News report Monday evening that Islamic State terrorists are planning an “imminent” attack on Jewish kindergartens, schools and youth centers in the country.

“We are very worried about the information we are receiving, and following the situation closely with the relevant authorities in Israel and Turkey,” Rivlin said.

In thanking Rivlin, İbrahimzadeh said: “Hopefully we shall overcome this soon and return to normal life. We appreciate this offer and the solidarity of the State of Israel very much.”

The Sky News report said the most likely target is a synagogue in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, which is attached to a community center and school, the British news service reported Monday. The report is likely referring to the Neve Shalom Synagogue, which was hit by attacks in 1986 and 2003.

Just hours earlier, Israel warned its citizens living in or visiting Turkey to leave immediately, warning of an Islamic State threat.

Sky News reported seeing an intelligence report saying the Islamic State was behind the attack in Istanbul as well as the series of bombings in Brussels on March 22.

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