Chaos, Uncertain Future for Venezuela’s Jews
The Fellowship | January 28, 2019
The streets of Venezuela have been tense, as the nation has descended further into chaos. This chaos is especially worrying for the country’s Jewish community, writes Israel Hayom’s Shimon Yaish, who are praying for peace, but wary due to Venezuela’s historic treatment of Jews:
Juan Guaidó has been sworn in as temporary president of Venezuela – two weeks after Nicolás Maduro, the president elected in a disputed vote last year took the oath of office – and Venezuela is in chaos.
Venezuela is home to some 5,000 Jews. About 20,000 Jewish Venezuelans have left the country in the past decade because of economic conditions, and particularly because of how the Jewish community has been treated since 2009.
Operation Cast Lead (in the winter of 2008-2009) was a turning point for the country’s Jews. They faced discrimination from anti-Israel activists, and synagogues were vandalized. The prejudice peaked when then-President Hugo Chávez – known for his pro-Palestinian stance – demanded that the Israeli ambassador leave over the “Holocaust that Israel was perpetrating in Gaza,” as Chávez put it. Since then, Israel has had no diplomatic presence in Venezuela.
“There is a really confusing situation here, two presidents, and the situation of the Jewish community – like that of the other residents – isn’t good,” Elias Farache, president of the Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) – the umbrella organization for the Venezuelan Jewish community – tells Israel Hayom.
Members of the community are biding their time to see what will happen and hoping that the current crisis passes.
“There is a really bad economic crisis here. We hope that all sides will resolve their problems peacefully,” Farache says…