Israeli Rabbi Israel Elbom was stranded on the road before he could reach Istanbul Airport due to a severe snowstorm after a business trip to Turkey. The rabbi was rescued by the gendarmerie and taken to the mosque. Describing his experiences at the mosque, the rabbi said: “I prayed side by side with muslims. We pray to the same God. It was a good time.”
Many people were stranded in Istanbul after the recent snowfall. Israeli Rabbi Elbom, 62, came to Istanbul as a supervisor for kosher certification, which is considered a halal certificate for Jews. Israeli Rabbi IsraelEl Elbom, who was on his way to catch his flight after finishing his work, was stranded on the road before he could reach Istanbul Airport due to the snowfall and blizzard. Elbom, rescued by the gendarmerie, was taken to Ali Kusçu Mosque near Istanbul Airport.
IT’S ON THE AGENDA IN THE ISRAELI MEDIA
Elbom, who prayed in the same side while the congregation prayed at the mosque, shared his different experience with the Israeli media and became a hot topic in his country. Elbom was placed in a hotel in Esenyurt when the roads opened and will return to Israel by plane.
Israeli Rabbi IsraelEl Elbom said he had made repeated business trips to many cities in Turkey and frequently came. Elbom stated that he always feels good during his travels, “I have been traveling to many cities such as Ankara, Izmir and Adana for many years. I feel comfortable every time I go. They’re very kind people, they usually smile. I work as a consultant in Kosher food certification, so I come often,” he said.
Elbom said he left two days ago to catch his plane after finishing work at a factory, and was stranded by heavy snowfall and accidents.
Elbom said it was also not possible to return by car. My driver was asleep, but I couldn’t. The cops started taking people out of their vehicles and taking them somewhere. I woke up the driver to find out what was going on. We walked half an hour to where the police cars were, and then we got into the truck. It was too crowded. We went to the police station and stayed there for a few hours. Hot. They brought food, but I couldn’t eat it because it wasn’t kosher approved. The army officers picked us up and took us to the hotel, the mosque,” he said.
WORSHIPPED SIDE BY SIDE WITH MUSLIMS IN THE WINDOW
Elbom said they arrived at the mosque around 4:00 a.m., adding that they lived there.
“I took off my shoes because it was a mosque. The carpets were a little hot, I warmed up. I went to a corner of the mosque, people were looking at me. Because of course I looked a little different. No one was saying anything, they were just smiling. It was beautiful. It was around 5:00 or 6:00. I was so tired and cold. I slept on the carpet at the mosque. When I washed my face and came to the mosque to pray again, there were people praying. I also prayed side by side. We pray to the same God. It was a good time.”
Elbom said that his experiences at the mosque were very important to him, and that his story there was also reported in the Israeli media, and that it was difficult to do so in a mosque in Israel.
Elbom explained that he has always been in favor of smiling and peace against problems, and concluded:
“The smile will bring peace among these people. That’s why I’m doing this. It can bring peace between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and for all mankind. We can live together. Why do we need war? I was trapped for 14 or 15 hours. The mosque was really nice, too. It was a good time for me. Istanbul Ashkenazi Rabbi Mendy Chitrik also helped me a lot in this process, constantly asking if I needed anything. There might be a better world together. As I felt that night, Jews and Muslims and all other communities are all the same children and we worship the same God. We can pray together, laugh, live together, dance together. I believe the world is more comfortable and we will be happier. I was very comfortable in this hotel too, they took care of me.”