Friday, June 13, 2008

Zimbabwean Jews to Be Airlifted Out

The Zimbabwe Guardian (link)

13 June 2008

A MISSION to airlift some members of the Zimbabwean Jewish community to Israel is alleged to have been launched by the Jewish Agency, according to a report published in the Jewish Chronicle.
"Staff have spoken individually to every member of the 350-strong community and are believed to be making arrangements for their removal at short notice," reports the paper.

The details of the airlift are said to be a closely guarded secret. Zimbabwe and Israel have close diplomatic ties although there is no Jewish embassy in the country.
"This weekend a rabbi will fly to Britain from South-Africa to raise funds to support the operation, the cost of which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars," reports the weekly newspaper.
Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, the spiritual leader of African communities outside South Africa, said some of the older members of the Zimbabwe community were reluctant to leave, as they feel safe in the country.
He is reported as saying: "It is important to understand that this is the remnant of a once very strong community that numbered 7,500 people in its prime. Those who chose to stay feel loyal to their staff who depend on them, afraid of the struggle to adjust in a new place and really don't want to leave."
Ofer Dahan, the Jewish Agency's senior envoy to southern Africa, said members of the Jewish Community were scheduled to "leave Zimbabwe soon" but did not elaborate elaborate.
According to the paper, "One prominent member of the community there, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that despite the food shortage, people feel safe.
He is reported as saying, "In terms of personal security, they feel protected. So I can understand why they are not in a rush to leave."
Jews arrived in Rhodesia in 1894, growing to a peak of 7,500 in the 1960s.
Sir Roy Welensky, Rhodesia's (now Zimbabwe) Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963 was a Jew. Former Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Gubbay was also Jewish.
Ron Sandler, the man named by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to chair the newly nationalized Northern Rock bank is a Jewish brought up in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe currently boasts three synagogues: two in Harare and one in Bulawayo with one remaining Jewish school in Harare also has one remaining Jewish school.

Click here for the latest!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home