A Jewish family from Syria was secretly smuggled into Israel several months ago with the aid of a network of Israeli businesspeople and has begun a new life in the Jewish state, according to a Monday report.
The family, one of the few remaining Jewish families in Syria, arrived in Israel “with nothing,” according to a Netanya businessman who helped them immigrate, Army Radio reported.
“In the first stage, the mother and daughter arrived, then the whole family came,” the businessman, identified only as David, told the station. The family arrived with no possessions, so “we donated to help them with everything they needed… we did our best to help them in their acclimation to Israel,” David added.
The businessman is part of a network of Israelis of Syrian origin who helped the family. MK Yisrael Hason of Kadima, who was born in Damascus and came to Israel at age seven, is part of the group. MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, who was born in Iran, hosted the Syrian family in his sukkah on Sunday.
The Jewish community in Syria is one of the most ancient in the Diaspora and was once concentrated mainly in Aleppo and Damascus. After World War I the community saw mass emigration to the US, the land of Israel and Latin America. After the creation of Israel in 1948, most of the remaining Jews left Syria, while only a few thousand remained, many of whom were slowly smuggled out of the country.
It is thought that only a few dozen Jews remain in Syria today, and that many of the country’s ancient synagogues and Jewish-owned buildings have been damaged in the civil war.