Israel doubts Aleppo refugee’s Jewishness

A Syrian refugee in Aleppo called Razan who claims she is Jewish has appealed to Israel for help. But Jews usually keep their identity under wraps, and the Jewish Agency has its doubts , according to the Times of Israel. (With thanks: Lily)

Razan adds that “the government [of Israel] is
a powerful government and I believe that it will not abandon any Jew in
the world. Every Jew knows that [Israel] will not neglect him, because
[Israel] is the mightiest country on the face of the earth and will not
abandon its coreligionists.”

The Central Synagogue of Aleppo in January 2016. (Courtesy/Moti Kahana)

Razan’s younger brother Salah, who gave Army
Radio the recording and now lives in London after fleeing Aleppo over a
year and a half ago by way of Turkey, said that his father is Muslim and
his mother Jewish, and that he and his two sisters have always
considered themselves to be Jews.

“When I was a child my mother told me I am a
Jew and I understand that. And before the war I told everyone, everyone
knows I am a Jewish, all the neighbors around me. After the war, I
couldn’t say that, because it is very difficult,” he said.

Despite the family’s appeals for help from
Israel, officials at the Jewish Agency, which has carried out a number
of operations extracting Jews from hostile countries, told Army Radio
that they had doubts about the family’s Jewishness.

 People in similar
positions have in the past ensured that their Jewish identities remained
under wraps as to avoid magnifying the danger they face.

Israel has not taken in any refugees from the Syrian civil war and a plan to bring in 100 orphans has recently stalled.

Elizabeth Tzurkov, who researches Syria at the
Israeli think tank Forum for Regional Thinking, told Army Radio that
she was aware of similar cases to that of the woman in the recording and
questioned the source of the Jewish Agency’s skepticism.

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