Saul and Alfred Abraham fled for their lives
This story from the Jewish Journal of LA is two years old now, but I am posting it to put on record the rise of antisemitism in Indonesia, ' the world's most populous Muslim democracy'. The community in Surabaya was founded by Iraqi Jews. There are only two dozen, intermarried, Jews living there now: (with thanks: Andrew)
Last October (2009), when Muslim extremists threatened to burn down the only synagogue still standing in the Republic of Indonesia, Saul Abraham, 69, the synagogue’s caretaker, and his younger brother, Alfred, 66, fled the country.
“We left the same night,” Saul said, in the LAX lounge with his Los Angeles-based relatives, waiting for the flight that will carry the brothers off to what they believe is their only real haven: Israel.
Fearing for their lives, the brothers, both retired technicians, booked the first flight to the West Coast via Singapore without any time to pack or say goodbye to friends in their native Surabaya. They were welcomed in Los Angeles by their eldest brother, Jacob (real name withheld upon request), an L.A. resident since 1976, and sister Lily, 67, an L.A. resident since 1990. Lily decided to move to Israel, too.
'The Islam is very bad there,” Alfred said of Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. Saul and Alfred are fluent in Dutch and Indonesian and proficient in Arabic. They speak some English and no Hebrew. Jacob, a retired lawyer, served as the family’s unofficial spokesman and translator. The Muslims never torched the 60-year-old synagogue and the million-dollar property on which it is situated, Jacob said. Indigent Indonesian Jews who are housed on the property protested. The Muslims are expected to leave the synagogue alone in part because it is now under the care of an assimilated Jewish couple whose children are intermarried. An estimated 25 to 30 Jews live in Surabaya today.
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Being Jewish in Indonesia