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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777
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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."

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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.”

Hana Levi Julian

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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  1. LouisGavin says:

    To B McCormick (his posts have mysteriously disappeared) and others below who sprout the same nonsense.. The Gospels are the source of almost all anti-Jewish sentiments and canards. This includes the sayings attributed to Jesus. Think about it with your mind and heart – if ‘the Jesus’ of the Gospels was the savior of mankind and the harbinger of peace on Earth why would he spread such hateful accusations, (prohibited by the Torah, which he claimed he had come to fulfill, not change); accusations that without question have been used as the ‘war cries’ of those who murdered, pillaged and plundered millions of innocent people of Jewish descent. And even if some of these people where his enemies and detractors, if he was who the Gospels claim he is, he would have practiced as he preached and turned the other cheek. There are very logical and earthly reason for all this … and there is a whole body of historic, archeological and textual evidence to demonstrate the fact that most of the New Testament was scripted and structured as religious psychological warfare against the Jews by the Roman Empire, which as we all well know, became the Catholic Church. It all has to do with maintaining power and control by creating and owning people’s belief systems . ( You are living proof of this.) A mere 200 years after the official canonization of the texts by Augustine, they pulled the same trick and helped vilify Jews once more through the Koran, which without question was influenced directly by the Pope and his Arab agents. You are a victim of this psychological religious conditioning and you commit the crime of tarring all Jews with the symbolic brush of the ‘guilt of killing god’. You are simply conditioned by a program of hatred, as your parents were before you and theirs before them. Free yourself – add something positive to humanity’s struggle. Or shut up.

  2. 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.

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

  4. Afraid of the Lebanese Arabs.

  5. Janek El says:

    that’s the price they pay

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. John Newman says:

    How many Jews in Lebanon?

  10. 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….

  11. DanyFeghali says:

    This is awesome! I hope they can open the synagogue and show the world that Lebanon can handle every religion with no problem, show respect to every religion and understanding between every religion.

    I support them as I support every other religions that come in Lebanon to stay.

  12. 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

  13. SvietkaRivilis says:

    ahahha–ye-a synagogue for less than 100ppl OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY…once no jew(and i pray it will be asap) is left there-muslims will distroy it and turn it into a mosque:)

  14. SvietkaRivilis says:

    ahahha–ye-a synagogue for less than 100ppl OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY…once no jew(and i pray it will be asap) is left there-muslims will destroy it and turn it into a mosque:)

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

  16. 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

  17. Morry Barak says:

    Free these people.

  18. This hardly makes sense!

  19. This hardly makes sense!

  20. MichaelMostofsky says:

    Its sad what a jew has to say and do to live safely in the midst of her enemies.

  21. MichaelMostofsky says:

    The jews of Lebanon were mostly forced to leave by your supposed openess. You all make me sick

  22. AlanKardon says:

    When will you be moving to Lebanon?

  23. AlanKardon says:

    They allow Jews and Christians to remain there so they can hide from being shot down. Learned this from Hamas in Gaza.

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

  25. JudithYvonneDowla says:

    Michael Mostofsky .it can be a crazy crazy world sometimes. Take Alsace-Lorraine, traded back and forth between countries having the people to change their language per exchange as well as education system. It’s like you can stay here as long as I say but if I say you must go, then go you must. Immigrate to another land if it comes down to that.

  26. JudithYvonneDowla says:

    Right on Louis, many people just go gung ho without thinking what it is leading to for others. Learning how to use the head and brain and tongue effectively is a blessing for all,

  27. AdelaPisarevsky says:


  28. AdelaPisarevsky says:

    This individual Svietka Rivilis, below, is a pure, unadulterated venomous harpy. Out! Wretched evil!!!!!!!!

  29. Karen Bryant says:

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

  30. SvietkaRivilis says:

    first of all-i m on top:) second of all-u have a bit of understanding problem: my point was that the whole community of jews left in that ratched country is less than 100 and i dont expect the to say anything else if they want to stay alive. when i say i hope no jew will be left there(or in any other muslim country) it is because i hope and pray they will safely and timely make alia. and lastly-the facts of history (up to very recent) prove me right–when islam takes over-it desecrates any historic/religious worship house and if not turn it into stables(like they did in hebron) they turn it into mosques.

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

  32. ShlomoWalfish says:

    Finnaly a new home for the neturei karta in Israel to move to.

  33. GarySchrank says:

    everytime there is an interview with jews in Iran its always anti Israeli conversation

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

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

  36. YechielBaum says:

    Arazi stayed because is his family actually intermarried with Christians or arabs as the rest of those who stayed behind or are they paid employees of those who hate Jews that they would let the remainder of their family leave to Israel France or New York? They surely did nto stay behind because they like living on deaths door unless there is a dollar sign around their stupid necks!

  37. MillieKashuk says:

    Let us see how long this lasts in Lebanon……….I am sorry for all these
    lost Jews and Pray they realize we have a Jewish Country called

  38. Ed Nagler says:

    Funny, I wonder if after their seder at Pesach they conclude with “next year in Jerasulem?”

  39. thats what i thought….

  40. HarryBloch says:

    Jews need to move away from their enemies and not live in their midsts !!!

  41. 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.

  42. MeiraYolandaLettieri says:

    And young, healthy Yids need to bring grandma and grandpa with them. We’re not so young although we’re healthy but I have a robust 90 year old Father In Law who has refused to even visit us here. Now that he’s widowed and living in a goyish retirement home in No. Carolina, he’s rethinking it. He realizes that in that place, which is very nice he may well outlive his money and there are no options. He’s already struggling with lack of Yiddishkeit, which has become important to him, and sometimes inedible food. He’s not really kosher but he won’t eat pork or shellfish. We have a good independent living place in our town and he is now seriously thinking about aliya! It’s never too late, yet.

  43. MeiraYolandaLettieri says:

    Harry Bloch Exactly! That might hve been true 67 years ago but it’s not today when we have this place called Israel.

  44. SylvieSchapira548 says:

    I guess that the small Jewish community has been forced to make this statement – one can imagine that with the Arabs – a hateful, vengeful, brutal people.

  45. MeirDeutsch says:

    Sonia gets it.

  46. bobturov972 says:

    All I can say about this Arazi is: Useful Idiot! On the other hand, I don’t put much of the blame on him – he HAD to say all this garbage in order to stay alive.

  47. NathalieRosaBucher says:

    @Sylvie Schapira: how many Arabs do you know to make such an ungenerous, sweeping statement? greetings from Beirut.

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