On the day the students arrived, Elon faced off with Palestinian leaders Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi. The pair called the move a deliberate provocation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Wye Plantation in Maryland.
"This was a Jewish neighborhood, as you well know, since 100 years ago," Elon told the two Palestinian leaders. "This synagogue was empty until last month, when they started illegal construction and tried to annex the synagogue."
Replied Husseini, "So you are talking about a historical matter and a legal matter. From our point of view, this was not a synagogue. It was a house."
Peace Now activists have been demonstrating against the move.
Elon denied that his actions had anything to do with the peace summit. They apparently had more to do with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I have no strength for Bibi anymore," Elon said. "I'll tell you the truth, I'm so upset with this Wye Plantation, that the only connection was that…in my heart I prayed that God would not let this summit succeed and will prevent the bloodshed of Oslo."