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Monday, May 02, 2005 

Syria's Jews

It's commonly accepted that Syria's Jews were ethnically cleansed. They were forced out, threatened and attacked until their existence became impossible in Syria.

A Jewish house near Bab Sharqi in Damascus's Old City (by Annie).

But Bridgid Keenan reports that in the early 90s, following the Madrid Peace Conference, many Syrian Jews came under immense pressure to leave from US Jewish groups. They were promised $400-600 per month (the average wage in Syria is $150 per month) according to a Syrian Jewish community leader. Green cards and visas were facilitated by the US government.

It shocked the diplomatic community in Syria - including the US embassy!

Today there are less than a thousand Jews left in Syria. Most in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, Damascus and Aleppo and Qamishli.

At night, I came accross a beautiful old house close to Bab Touma and I learned from a neighbour that it belonged to a Jewish family who had left the country and that it was still theirs; it was simply locked up.
Is it true that none of the Jewish property was confiscated ?

According to legend all Jewish property was stolen by successive Syrian governments. But as your story - and the photo - shows, Jewish houses remain untouched to this day.

The Jewish Quarter is in the Old City south of Bab Sharqi. Where exactly was the house you saw?

Why did greater proportions of Lebanon's Christian and Jewish communities flee during the civil war? Did they?

Thank you very much for your message Mizrahi. It's good to hear from you. I agree, we are all Arab first, and Christian, Muslim or Jewish second. We are united by our race. I am very interested in Arab Christians and Jews because I really feel like not enough people in the West even know there is such a thing. Where do you live now?

Please email me, I'm very interested in hearing from you: lio119@yahoo.com

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About me

  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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