Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Synagogue re-opens, without Jews
The renovated Beirut synagogue is about to re-open
I have to confess I was reluctant to join the media circus promoting the re-opening of the reconstructed Maghen Avraham synagogue in Beirut. What purpose can this renovation serve, except as a publicity stunt for Hezbollah? The last Jew in the old Jewish Wadi Abu Jamil neighbourhood, Lisa Srour, has died and the few remaining Jews live too far to walk to the synagogue in the doubtful event of services ever being held. Was Isaac Arazi's Israel-bashing outburst, reported by Jewish Press, really necessary? Only if you happen to know that he runs a food-machinery business, which has 1, 000 customers in Lebanon. His dhimmi statement is a small price (or Jizya) to pay to buy security for himself and his business. (With thanks: Eliyahu)
The Jewish community in Lebanon has officially denounced the State of Israel as the country’s sole synagogue prepares to reopen in Beirut.
“We have no connection to those who wanted to live in Palestine and kill innocent people,” Isaac Arazi, head of Lebanon’s dwindling Jewish community, announced to a reporter.
He spoke with the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper in an interview this week ahead of the impending reopening of Magen Avraham, the only remaining synagogue in Lebanon.
Founded in 1925, Magen Avraham was one of 16 synagogues in Beirut, named for the son of Abraham Sassoon, Moise Abraham Sassoon of Calcutta, and built on land donated by Isaac Mann. The synagogue is located in the former Jewish district of Wadi Abu Jamil in Beirut and was allegedly abandoned after shelling destroyed the building during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s.
During the 1982 Lebanon War with Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization forces headed by terrorist Yasser Arafat holed up in the Jewish neighborhood. They used the synagogue as a shield, forcing Israeli pilots to attempt a surgical air strike that failed, further damaging the building.
Renovations in process since May 2009 were estimated at approximately $1 million. “We even raised money from Lebanese Jews outside the country – but Christians and Muslims have also helped us renovate,” Arazi noted. “Even the company that is responsible for development and rehabilitation of Beirut helped us in accordance with the law that the state should help to renovate houses of worship.”
Arazi said as head of the community, he spoke for all of the remaining few dozen Jews who are left in the country north of Israel, home also to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Although the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization, an Iranian proxy, is committed to Israel’s destruction, the group claimed it has no problem with the Jews in its midst.
One woman who was interviewed, “Sonia,” age 60, said that although she stayed with her Gentile husband and children when the rest of her family made aliyah, her in-laws nevertheless were opposed to her because of her faith.
Still, she told the newspaper, “There’s no such thing as Zionist or Jewish. The Jews are all one, and there’s no way to run from their identity.” (My emphasis)
Read article in full
Jewish newspaper and passport of a Lebanese Jew. The term 'Israelite' was common as a substitute for 'Jewish': it lead to the conflation of 'Jew' and 'Israeli', Lebanese Jews complain.
Al-Awsat feature on the Jews of Lebanon (Arabic - with thanks: Sharon)
It pays to restore synagogues in the Arab world