JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has rescued 12 Jews from southern Kyrgyzstan, where ethnic violence has torn apart the region.
The 12 Kyrgyz Jews were brought to Israel Sunday and are scheduled to attend a welcoming ceremony at the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors Assembly on Monday, along with 650 other new immigrants. They were immediately accepted as citizens of Israel.
Fewer than 70 Jews live in southern Kyrgyzstan. Most of an estimated 1,300-1,500 Jews reside far away in the capital city of Bishkek. To date, no Jews have been harmed, according to the Jewish Federations of North America.
More than 2,000 people have been killed and 40,000 displaced in fighting between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz that began earlier this month and have rocked the country’s south.