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The last Jew in Afghanistan

Every Friday, Zabolon Simantov prepares for the Sabbath: He showers and shaves and closes in the evening. On Saturday morning, when the Muslim Afghanistan around him begins the work week, clothes for the morning prayer of the Jewish day of rest. The people in his native Kabul, calling him only "the Jews". Because he is the last of its kind – the last Jew in Afghanistan.

"I'll stay, to take care of the synagogue," he said, "Times of Israel". "I wouldn't be here, would have sold the land long ago." The 52-Year-old intends to preserve the Jewish heritage. According to estimates, lived up to the early 19th century. Century 40'000 Jews in the country. Their marks ranged back to the Babylonian exile. Later, Kabul was a transit point on the trade routes between Central Asia and India; at that time, the Jewish merchants belonging to the Elite of the city. Of this flower there is hardly anything remained. In the case of the state of Israel was founded in 1948, took thousands of Afghan Jews decided to move there. After the end of the war with the Soviet Union in 1989, the country was one of only a few Jewish families. They, too, moved on, many to New York or Tel Aviv.

only two men remained: Zabolon Simantov and Yitzhak Levin. The bitter irony is: even Though the two lived together in the synagogue of Kabul and, together, the civil war survived, they had life, only hatred for each other. They betrayed each other out of the to the Taliban and accused the other as an alleged spy for the Mossad. As a result of the strife they were arrested and tortured. Her story was even processed in plays in the USA – for example, in the Comedy "Two Jews Walk Into a war". Since Levin's death in 2005 Simantov lives alone in the dilapidated two-storey building in the old town, which is home to the last synagogue in the country.

the goal of The West, to make Afghanistan a true democracy, is considered to have failed.

The Afghan capital is a menacing place. Again and again this year, attacks have been mounted to sabotage the parliamentary elections and the people of the urns. The calculus of the Taliban: the goal of The West, to make Afghanistan a true democracy, is considered to have failed.

many Afghans have resigned, even Simantovs own family. His wife and two daughters are left Kabul many years ago, and went to Israel. Simantov even want to stay. He don't speak Hebrew and would have been in Israel anyway no work, he says. Above all, he wants to save the last of the house of God, of the Jewish community and its cemetery.

Except for him, no Jew has long been more in the synagogue. To make ends meet, he runs a Kebab Restaurant. Everything is prepared according to Muslim requirements. When he enters his Local, Simantov his kippah. However, the turnover is low. In the city many people have become anxious. And so he can only survive by the donations of Jews from abroad. A certainty you have: this middle-aged man, the last member of the community, is the extinction of the Jewish community of Afghanistan.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 16.12.2018, 20:19 PM

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