Muslims mistake synagogue for mosque in Israeli airport, use prayer shawls as prayer mats (VIDEO)

© Yossi Cohen
Jews in Israeli Ben Gurion International Airport were quite taken aback after they saw several Turkish Muslims praying in the airport’s synagogue, apparently mistaking it for a mosque.

The footage was released by Facebook user Yossi Cohen on Monday. “Today at the synagogue in Ben Gurion airport,” he wrote under the video.

They were all members of one Turkish family, according to Breaking Israeli news. They were apparently looking for a place to pray and found a synagogue which was empty. It was just before the holiday of Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday that marks the end of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. Religious Jews do not usually travel on such days.

The family used the available Jewish prayer shawls, also known as tallits, as prayer mats. Tallits are shawls traditionally worn over the clothes by religious Jews during prayers.

But when the Muslim family realized that they were praying in the synagogue, they “folded the shawls and explained that they’d just looked for a place to pray,” a witness told NRG website. 

According to the Times of Israel, Ben Gurion Airport doesn’t provide any facilities for believers of religions other than Judaism.

Some Israelis welcomed the act of praying in the synagogue. According to Yehuda Glick, a member of the Knesset, he himself “prayed in a mosque” and he said he is “happy that Muslims prayed in a synagogue.”

“Where is the embarrassment? I couldn’t find any,” he wrote on Facebook, as cited by Arutz Sheva network. 

His position was supported by Rabbi David Menachem, rabbi of the Mishkan Yosef synagogue in Jerusalem.

“A group of Muslims from Turkey innocently prayed in the airport synagogue in Ben-Gurion. Innocently and in honor of God,” he wrote on Facebook.