Police Guard Temple at Rites for 21 Killed
Riot police ringed the blood-splattered Neve Shalom synagogue today as 3,000 mourners gathered for the funeral for the 21 victims of Saturday’s temple massacre.
“Murderers!” shouted Rafi Shul, 17, who survived the slaughter by pretending to be dead after two Arab terrorists, who later killed themselves, gunned down his father. Male relatives had to drag the youth into a nearby shop to calm him.
The service was led by Chief Rabbi David Asseo, who had ordered that bloodstains on the walls and ceiling of the Neve Shalom temple be allowed to remain as a reminder of the 21 who were gunned down while praying--the worst tragedy in the Jewish community’s 500-year history.
Two of the victims were buried in Israel this week, so only 19 coffins were carried in the 11 green hearses that remained outside the narrow gray-brick synagogue under the watchful eyes of a Turkish security detachment of soldiers and sailors.
As the hearses began snaking their way through ancient narrow streets, black-clad women relatives of the dead screamed at photographers to “Leave us in peace.”
The hearses moved slowly past the 19th-Century building and under the shadow of the 180-foot Ottoman Galalat tower to the 150-year-old Arnavutkoy Sephardic Jewish cemetery.
Before the funeral procession started, heavily armed riot police and small detachments from the army and navy kept back thousands of people gathered around the synagogue in Istanbul’s Jewish quarter.