In a rare gesture, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted a delegation of the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States and the local Jewish community of Turkey, participated by the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, at Ankara on Wednesday.
The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for his open hostility towards the State of Israel, hosted a public meeting with rabbis and Jewish officials on Wednesday.
Held in Ankara, Erdogan met with a delegation of the Turkish Jewish community headed by Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva and Ashkenazic Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, as well as the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States, and Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.
According to a report, Erdogan said that “relations between Turkey and Israel will always be strong – and will continue to grow. Normalizing relations with Israel is important. It will happen soon.”
Official photos show participants clapping and presenting Erdogan with a silver Menorah as a gift.
The Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States, headed by Rabbi Chitrik, is an apolitical and non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting Jewish life in predominantly Muslim countries.
At present, the membership of ARIS is comprised of rabbis in Albania, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, and more, as well as rabbis serving in communities of other Muslim majority regions, such as North Cyprus, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan.