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Venezuela: Juden fliehen vor Armut und Antisemitismus

Graffiti an der Mariperez Synagogue in Caracas

Tens of thousands have left the country, including a growing number of Venezuelan Jews who have relocated to Israel. The process is not easy because Israel and Venezuela do not have diplomatic ties. In 2009, following Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, then-President Hugo Chávez expelled the Israeli ambassador and his staff from Caracas. He aligned himself with the Palestinians, recognizing their right to statehood later that year, and developed relations with Iran, Israel’s nemesis. Official Israeli government figures show that 111 Venezuelan Jews made ‚aliyah,‘ the Hebrew term for immigration meaning ‚ascending,‘ to Israel in 2015, more than double the number who arrived in 2012. And although final figures for 2016 are not in, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that works to bring Jews from distressed places to Israel, said it had helped about 90 people immigrate. (…)

Anti-Semitism was widespread under Chávez and has continued since his death in 2013. Jewish groups estimate that about 50 percent of the 22,000 Jews who lived in the country when Chávez came to power have left. Last year, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League condemned a magazine for using anti-Semitic imagery on its cover that suggested the country’s economic problems were brought on by wealthy people of ‚Israelite origin.‘ ‚For several years we have seen anti-Semitic accusations and themes appear in Venezuelan public discourse,‘ said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL, responding to the magazine’s cover in August. ‚This shockingly graphic manifestation of anti-Semitic imagery on full display on Venezuelan newsstands is unacceptable and repulsive.‘“ (Ruth Eglash: „Venezuelan Jews are moving to Israel to escape deepening poverty“)


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