Photo Credit: Haim Zach (GPO)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Great Synagogue of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning on Kazakhstan, where the government has resigned in the face of nationwide violent anti-government riots triggered by rising fuel prices.

Israelis were warned Thursday to “exercise caution and avoid unnecessary visits” to the country.

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Kazakh President Qassem-Jomart Tokayev this week declared a nationwide two-week state of emergency, inviting Russian troops in to help restore order.

Dozens of police officers and protesters have been killed as demonstrators attempt to storm government buildings in the worst street violence since the country became independent 30 years ago.

At least 60 people are hospitalized in intensive care units and at least 748 others have been injured in the city of Almaty, according to reports by the Russian news agencies Interfax and RIA Novosti.

In addition, 2,298 people have been detained, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.

Israel and Kazakhstan have maintained close ties in the defense and intelligence sectors; in addition Kazakh farmers, managers and scientists have trained in the Jewish State.

Then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the country in December 2016 – the first such visit by an Israeli head of state – and attended a Kazakh-Israeli business forum in Astana, the capital.

The country’s first synagogue was opened in 2001 by Chabad Lubavitch alone with a Jewish community center that included a Jewish day school and summer camps for Jewish children. The Beit Rachel synagogue in Astana opened in 2004, and is the largest such synagogue in central Asia.

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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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