Jews of Syrian origin return to go to Damascus

Israel’s Kan channel reported that the Syrian authorities allowed six Jewish girls and 6 males, who left Syria a long time in the past and dwell in New York, to go to Damascus in early November, inside the framework of encouraging extra Jews to go to Syria.

Kan’s Arab affairs editor stated that the guests advised him that that they had utilized for medical service with dentists in Damascus, because it prices a lot much less in Syria than within the US.

“The connection between some Syrian Jews and regime officers who repeatedly go to the US has not been severed,” one of many guests advised Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity. “Some officers go to some Jews in New Jersey … however US regulation doesn’t enable them to be greater than 25 miles away from the UN constructing. Three years in the past, Syrian intelligence invited some Syrian Jews to go to Syria, noting that [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad is concerned about getting nearer to Syrian Jews residing within the US; again then, they didn’t settle for the invitation.”

He famous that the guests wished to be taught extra concerning the synagogues in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishli, and to see whether it is attainable to revive the synagogue within the Jobar space, east of Damascus, which the Syrian Jewish neighborhood started amassing funds to resume. “We agreed to go to after the regime pledged to supply us with full safety always. We additionally visited three Syrian Jews who had not emigrated.”

The customer added, “We have been requested to satisfy with regime officers, however we refused as a result of this go to has private motives and mustn’t contain politics. We don’t wish to violate US legal guidelines, and all of us agreed to not take sides relating to the conflicting events in Syria.” 

Within the 1950s, there have been about 30,000 Jews in Syria, however most left between 1967-1973. Today, there are about 40 left inside Syria. The variety of Jews of Syrian origin within the US is estimated at 75,000.

Makorrishon, a Hebrew newspaper, reported on Nov. 9, “A couple of month in the past, a delegation of US Jews visited Aleppo, northern Syria, and inspected the temple that the opposition restored after the conflict, after acquiring permits from the Russians.” The newspaper quoted sources within the Syrian neighborhood in Israel as saying, “Some Jewish businessmen who beforehand lived in Syria returned with their households to work within the nation with international passports. These Jews work there with the approval of the Assad regime.” 

Ayman Abdel Nour, head of Syrian Christians for Peace who resides in New York, advised Al-Monitor, “The relations between the regime and Syrian Jews have by no means been severed. When the Brooklyn rabbi died, [former Syrian UN representative] Bashar al-Jaafari and [former Syrian Foreign Minister] Walid al-Moallem despatched messages of condolence to the Jewish neighborhood. Assad additionally provided condolences for the loss of life of the top of the Syrian Jewish neighborhood. Syrian ambassador Imad Mustafa was attending all of the occasions of Syrian Jews within the US.”

However, Abdel Nour added, “The Jews I’m involved with right here advised me that they didn’t neglect how the regime handled them between 1970 and 1994; they have been prevented from being greater than 25 kilometers away from their houses, they usually weren’t allowed to get a job in authorities establishments. It additionally compelled them to promote their properties for reasonable below the supervision of the Navy Safety Department earlier than they have been allowed to go away Syria. This is the reason they refuse to just accept the regime’s requires rapprochement. The Jews who went again to go to Syria are only a few, and they don’t symbolize the Jewish neighborhood right here.”

The regime’s objective in permitting the go to is to indicate the progress in Russian-mediated negotiations with Israel, Wael Olwan, a researcher at Jusoor Center for Studies, advised Al-Monitor.

Fadel Abdul Ghany, director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, condemned the violations dedicated by the Syrian regime towards  Jews in Syria. “The regime doesn’t have the fitting to forestall Syrians from visiting their nation. It makes use of the permission to go to Syria to advertise its openness to shine its picture and keep in energy, even by conceding to Israel because it ceded to Russia and Iran.”

The liberty of Jews to return to Syria ought to be seen for granted, not a kindness, since within the regular case, any Syrian has the fitting to return to his nation, Abdul Ghany famous. Along with Judaism, he stated, “the regime can be attempting to use Christian and Muslim clerics alike and make use of faith and sects such because the Alawite sect to serve the authoritarian agenda.”

The biggest neighborhood of Syrian Jews is in Brooklyn, however there are others in numerous components of the US and the occupied Palestinian territories, in accordance with The Wall Street Journal. Some American Jewish leaders, together with the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder, maintained private relations with Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, earlier than him.

In line with the ebook Ottoman Administration in the Province of Syria, 1864-1914, greater than 30,000 Jews lived in Damascus within the Fifties, however most of them left after the Six-Day Warfare in 1967. In the present day, a Damascene Jewish minority lives there together with some Palestinians and Iranians. The Jewish quarter used to incorporate 12 faculties and ten synagogues.

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