On Wednesday 19th November, an attack on a Jerusalem Synagogue left five people dead and a storm of internal and external political tensions. Victims included three US citizens (Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Moshe Twersky) Briton Avraham Goldberg and policeman Zidan Saif.
The incident has, according to some newspaper informants, is taking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still closer to ‘religious war’. It comes amid increasing debates about access and use of religious sites in the Holy Land, most particularly the Noble Sanctuary (as it is known to Muslims) or the Temple Mount (as it is referred to by Jews).
Whilst world leaders outside of the country focused on the broader context of the attack (the US President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House: “Tragically, this is not the first loss of lives that we have seen in recent months. Too many Israelis have died, too many Palestinians have died.”) Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, condemned the “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers”. Repercussions discussed for the attack included demolition of the offender’s houses and de-restricting the use of firearms for off-duty security personnel.