Will The Last Afghan Jew Make Istanbul His Permanent Home?

Published October 18th, 2021 - 05:48 GMT
Chief Rabbi Mendy Chitrik Welcomes Simantov (back left) and other relatives
Chief Rabbi Mendy Chitrik Welcomes Simantov (back left) and other relatives (Courtesy Anadolu press agency)

ALBAWABA – The last Jew of Afghanistan finally arrives in Istanbul. The social media is buzzing with his arrival. The fact that Zabulun Simantov is the only and last Jew in Afghanistan is news by itself.

He arrived to Istanbul Airport, Sunday, on a scheduled flight from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad according to Anadolu news. Simantov, who was born in the Afghanistan province of Herat on the Iran border and had been living in Kabul, was evacuated when the Taliban took over the country back in August.

Simantov (62), who is on a 90-day visa to stay in Turkey, was welcomed  by Mendy Chitrik, the Ashkenazi rabbi of Istanbul, and some of his relatives, and later left in a private car. He is understood that he will be staying in the country for quite some time.

There is much interest in Simantov worldwide. He had been living in Kabul’s only synagogue before being evacuated and its reported he has two daughters and a wife who are currently living in Israel. There are some reports who suggest he had refused to grant his wife a divorce on religious grounds.

It is suggested that the man worked as a carpet dealer and he once owned a restaurant and was looking forward to going to the Queens neighborhood of New York. However, presently he is happy to be in Istanbul.


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