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Lebanon Jews Denounce Israel as Beirut Synagogue Reopens

“We have no connection to those who wanted to live in Palestine and kill innocent people."
The Magen Avraham Synagogue in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Magen Avraham Synagogue in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo Credit: NYC2TLV / Wikimedia Commons

The Jewish community in Lebanon has officially denounced the State of Israel as the country’s sole synagogue prepares to reopen in Beirut.

“We have no connection to those who wanted to live in Palestine and kill innocent people,” Isaac Arazi, head of Lebanon’s dwindling Jewish community, announced to a reporter.

He spoke with the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper in an interview this week ahead of the impending reopening of Magen Avraham, the only remaining synagogue in Lebanon.

Founded in 1925, Magen Avraham was one of 16 synagogues in Beirut, named for the son of Abraham Sassoon, Moise Abraham Sassoon of Calcutta, and built on land donated by Isaac Mann. The synagogue is located in the former Jewish district of Wadi Abu Jamil in Beirut and was allegedly abandoned after shelling destroyed the building during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s.

During the 1982 Lebanon War with Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization forces headed by terrorist Yasser Arafat holed up in the Jewish neighborhood. They used the synagogue as a shield, forcing Israeli pilots to attempt a surgical air strike that failed, further damaging the building.

Renovations in process since May 2009 were estimated at approximately $1 million. “We even raised money from Lebanese Jews outside the country – but Christians and Muslims have also helped us renovate,” Arazi noted. “Even the company that is responsible for development and rehabilitation of Beirut helped us in accordance with the law that the state should help to renovate houses of worship.”

Arazi said as head of the community, he spoke for all of the remaining few dozen Jews who are left in the country north of Israel, home also to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Although the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization, an Iranian proxy, is committed to Israel’s destruction, the group claimed it has no problem with the Jews in its midst. “We respect the Jewish religion just like we do Christianity,” a spokesman for the terrorist organization told the newspaper. “The Jews have always lived among us. We have an issue with Israel’s occupation of land.”

The sectarian fighting that takes place between Hezbollah and other groups within Lebanon and in Syria seems to belie the statement, however. Likewise, the massive flight of Jews from Lebanon that left the community almost entirely bare leaves one to wonder why, if conditions among the Lebanese are so convivial, so many other Jews found it necessary to flee.

“Not all Jews are Zionists. We identify as Lebanese and we belong in Lebanon 100 percent,” Arazi told the Arabic newspaper. “Our condition is just like that of the rest of Lebanon. We suffer just as they do from politicians and officials whose only worry is how to put our money in their pockets.”

The majority of Lebanon’s population is Muslim, although there is a significant Christian minority. The newspaper did indeed also report that Gentile in-laws of intermarried Jews are not as likely to ignore the differences between them as the Lebanese Jews are.

One woman who was interviewed, “Sonia,” age 60, said that although she stayed with her Gentile husband and children when the rest of her family made aliyah, her in-laws nevertheless were opposed to her because of her faith.

Still, she told the newspaper, “There’s no such thing as Zionist or Jewish. The Jews are all one, and there’s no way to run from their identity.”

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


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25 Responses to “Lebanon Jews Denounce Israel as Beirut Synagogue Reopens”

  1. Maybe they are not the remnants chosen by God,sad to say not all Jewish in the flesh are to be chosen to be saved.

  2. What nonsense are they getting on about? How can you denounce what is real and right?!!

  3. Janek El says:

    that’s the price they pay

  4. If they do not do it, Hezbollah will crack down on them-all one hundred of them.Why they even stay there is a mystery-most Jews were forced to leave in 1948.

  5. What does this nonsense have to do with anything?

  6. The political motive is pretty easy to see, but Israel and Judaism are not synonymous and what Israel as a state does is more political and not religious and often counter-religious to the interests of Jews. It’s no worse for Lebanese Jews to consider the reactions (if they do) of Lebanese Muslim entities than for Jews anywhere else to have to consider Christian views. How about putting both aside where they belong—nowhere. Israeli collusion with missionary cultures is harmful to God’s People whether these ungodly cultures are Christian or Muslim. Israel needs to cleanse itself of both.

  7. John Newman says:

    How many Jews in Lebanon?

  8. Amazing what extortion can do, I’m sure German Jews did similar things prior to WW 2 to try to survive. Take it from where and why it’s coming….

  9. You like to pick and choose from scriptures that fit your racist opinions
    If you knew anything about history you would understand the contributions the Israelis have made to this world to make your life easier

  10. Not too many Jews left there…very few. I wonder why they felt the need to restore it “all of a sudden”

  11. Obviously these comments are meant for those who ,”THINK THEY ARE JEWS , and are the synagogue of satan just as Revelation says. There is no offense meant to those who are true Jews and only if these ,”Jews” who are still rejecting the Messiah will they be offended. I’m afraid you have misunderstood what I said because I’m talking about God and the true Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Jews and you are talking politics. ” Render unto Caesar what is his ( politics ) and unto God what is His( faith or religion) no offense meant! Shalom

  12. Morry Barak says:

    Free these people.

  13. This hardly makes sense!

  14. This hardly makes sense!

  15. Jews denouncing Jews, just what the arabs want.

  16. Karen Bryant says:

    The question is… Are they really Jews? Only God knows what is really going on.

  17. McCormick! Go to Lebanon! Preach on Arabs! We, the Jews, are impossible for you!

  18. They probably had to say this if they wanted to stay alive. A pure Nazi tactic.

  19. I wonder if they were under any pressure to do so?

  20. thats what i thought….

  21. André Nunes says:

    Why not instead of denouncing our people, they should just go home!!! Israel is only a hop and skip away…..stop being cowards.

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