We have the land, security, and the knowledge that we are brothers.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak participated in a Torah dedication ceremony Sunday night at the Ohel Yitzchak Synagogue at the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Barak’s participation in a mostly Arab neighborhood was despite his call to uproot expanded communities within Judea and Samaria.
The synagogue was restored with donations from American philanthropist Irwin Moskowitz. The pro-Israel supporter was recently in the headlines due to his purchase of the Shepherd Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem in order to build 22 Jewish housing units.
Barak’s participation at the ceremonies comes after a wave of international criticism of Israel’s construction within eastern Jerusalem. However, Barak’s Defense bureau stated that there is no need for the Defense Minister to apologize for his participation in a ceremony at a synagogue which has existed since 1867.
The Defense Ministry announced that Barak attended the dedication ceremony of a Torah dedicated by the Falik family from Miami, who are supporters of the Soldiers’ Welfare Association. However, an official said that the Defense Minister was unaware that the synagogue was in the Muslim Quarter or that the synagogue was refurbished by Moskowitz.
The synagogue was dedicated last September after its refurbishing by Moskowitz, who funds numerous pro-Israel projects.
Barak said at the ceremony, “We are now several days after Tisha B’Av and remember well why the First and Second Temples were destroyed. Because of baseless hatred it is appropriate to apply the lessons of those days to today.” The Defense Minister added, “We have the responsibility in our country and for the security of the State of Israel and the responsibility for the security of Jewish lives everywhere in the world and we must always remember that despite all of our disputes, all of us are brothers. We have the land, security, and the knowledge that we are brothers.”
Peace Now Criticizes Barak's Change of Stripes
The left-wing Peace Now director-general Yariv Oppenheimer apparently ignored Barak’s calls for “responsibility for the security of the State of Israel.” Instead, Oppenheimer decided to condemn the Defense Minister for his seeking support from “right-wing extremists.” Oppenheimer stated that Barak should reafirm his "airs of peace" as the head of the anti-nationalist Labor Party and “condemn destructive activities such as the activities of Moskowitz in eastern Jerusalem” and to fight pro-Land of Israel groups “who are attempting to transform Jerusalem as impossible to divide.”