The chief rabbi of Turkey, Rabbi Yitzhak Haliva, on Wednesday evening called for the prevention of the killing of innocent people following the terrorist attack in Istanbul.
"Those who carried out the attack are people who sold their souls to the devil," Rabbi Haliva told Arutz Sheva in an interview, adding, "People who do not know that this month is a holy month for Muslims – sold themselves to the devil. That's what they do, kill innocent people for no reason.”
"People go abroad or come to Turkey in honor of the Muslim holiday and suddenly crazy murderers show up and kill people left, right and center. It's a terrible tragedy. How can someone do that? Kill people like that?” added Rabbi Haliva, who said that the Turkish Jewish community prays for peace and unity in the world.
“We will read Psalms and pray to God to bring peace to the world. This is the world of a God who wants unity and love and not for people to murder each other. We pray that God will turn their hearts for the better – and that the next bombs that explode here will be only bombs of love and peace,” he said.
As for the Jewish community in Turkey itself, life for the Jews continues as usual, said Rabbi Haliva.
"There are three synagogues in Istanbul that are open on weekdays in the morning and evening – and another eighteen synagogues that are open on Shabbat and holidays. Of course there is security in the synagogues. Just last week we held four weddings, and until the attack there was a very good atmosphere here,” he stressed.
Rabbi Haliva also welcomed the agreement between Israel and Turkey and said, "Any peace agreement pleases us. God wants peace between the two countries. I was born in Turkey but I studied in a Jerusalem yeshiva, I was ordained by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and then I served in the Turkish army. I sincerely hope that all those who can promote peace in the world will do it, because that is what God wants.”