Fearing Islamist Reprisal, Last Jew of Afghanistan Set to Leave the Country Forever

    07-Apr-2021   
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Fearing attack by Islamists, the last known Jew of Afghanistan, Zabulon Simantov, is set to leave the country soon.
Born and brought up in the Afghan city of Herat, he has been looking after the synagogue, a Jewish place for worship, in Kabul for about four decades.
 
Herat was once home to hundreds of Jews but eventually, none could survive the Islamist onslaught.
The Jewish history in Afghanistan is about 2000 years old. With Simantov moving out, a chapter in the Jewish history of Afghanistan will come to an end.
 
The US has promised to pull out its troops fully from Afghanistan by May 1 this year. Many fear the complete withdrawal of troops will lead to an aggressive rise of the Taliban.
 
With Simantov not there, the only synagogue of the country will also bring down its shutters.
 
Born in 1961 in Herat, Simantov moved to Kabul early in his childhood. In 1992, when dictates from the Taliban made it impossible for him to survive in the city, he fled to Tajikistan.
 
He met his wife there.
 
Although he returned to Kabul soon, his wife and two daughters left for Israel in 1998.