Herzog Concludes Historic Turkey Trip With Stop at Istanbul Synagogue
i24 News – Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Istanbul’s Jewish community on the second and final day of his brief but historic diplomatic visit to Turkey.
On Thursday morning, Herzog spoke at the Neve Shalom Synagogue, where he was greeted with joyful clapping and shofar blasts.
The largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul has suffered from three terrorist attacks, most recently in 2003 with a car bomb attack.
The president asked those assembled at the house of worship to pray for “our Jewish brothers and sisters of the Jewish community in Ukraine.”
He said Turkish Jews “have had a huge role in writing the history of the Jewish people,” with “a long line of rabbis, poets, wise men, traders, entrepreneurs and leaders” coming from the country.
The rabbi of the synagogue delivered welcoming remarks, calling Herzog’s visit “a symbol of strengthening ties for peace.”
Rabbi Yitzchak Haliva said that Turkey and Israel “have contributed much to humanity for peace.”
Herzog is the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since 2008 and the first president since 2003.
On Wednesday, he was greeted in the capital Ankara by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Separately on Wednesday, First Lady Michal Herzog visited the Presidential Library in Ankara, accompanied by Turkish First Lady Emine Erdoğan. She gifted a number of Hebrew books to the institution.