The first Torah scroll for the Dimona nuclear reactor is being dedicated Tuesday, along with a new synagogue, replacing an old room for worship – none other than a bomb shelter
A restricted number of guests were invited to the ceremony at the tightly guarded facility, Yisrael HaYom reported.
Daily prayers at the northern Negev nuclear reactor have been conducted for years in a bomb shelter and the initiative for the new synagogue was launched last year.
American billionaire and philanthropist Ira Rennert, who has provided funding for dozens of Torahs scrolls and yeshivas throughout Israel, responded positively to an appeal from Rabbi David Abuhatzeira.
“The rabbi said that a sysngoguye in the nuclear reactor would be a tremendous combination of holiness with [non-spiritual] power,” according to a source closely involved with the fundraising effort. “The rabbi asked that we work a soon as possible to build the synagogue, which he described as being “splendid.” It seats approximately 300 people.
“The reactor operates 365 days a year, even during holidays, but until now, there has not been a proper synagogue,” the source said. “This was very important for the rabbi. There are thousands of workers at the reactor, and we were surprised to discover there was no synagogue for the hundreds of observant Jews working there.
He noted it is not coincidental that the synagogue is being dedicated at the same time a public debate is raging over the Iranian nuclear threat.
“I have no doubt that the building of a new synagogue and dedication of a new Torah scroll here will protect us against all eternal threats, including that from Iran,” he added.
The nuclear site, officially known as the Negev Nuclear Research Center, is located several miles east of Be’er Sheva and south of Arad.
It is closely defended through the use of a 24/7 unmanned aerial craft hovering over the facility and round-the-clock guards by the IDF in surrounding areas.
Rumors floated last January that the Israel Atomic Energy Commission was considering shutting down the reactor, at least temporarily, because of its possible vulnerability to an attack from Iran.