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Belarus is a jewish heart. This country used to be a home for for millions of jews for centuries.
It used to be the only one country in the world that had a jewish language IDISH as one of the state languages. You can even see it on the Coat of arms.

Many extraordinary people have jewish roots in Belarus. Among them are Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Harrison Ford, Louis Bart Mayer (The person who created Oscar), Michael Kirk Douglas, Marc Chagall and Yehuda Pen (internationally renowned artists), Chaim Weizmann, Steve Ballmer (an ex CEO of Microsoft), Isser Harel (he established Mossad), Yeruham "Eitan" Livni and thousands of others. To be more correct – even to Russia jews came from Belarus because in Russian Empire was a law that forbidden jews to settle to the east of the Belarusian border (in Russia) – that is why practically all Russian jews have their roots in Belarus.

During the Second World War Nazis and their helpers from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland tried to do their best to annihilate belarusian jews, but they fought hard and with the help of ordinary belarusians they managed to survive.

Today many jews in Belarus hide their origin because the ghost of antisemitism is always near, but I know for sure that this generous country hosts hundreds of thousands of people with jewish roots. When Ukrainian president Yanukovich was toppled by armed radicals and their sponsors The Ghost gained new strength, because many of that “activists” were people with jewish surnames and this fact reflects greatly on the jewish communities in ex USSR countries. They think only about their income and don't care how it effects on jews in Russian speaking countries. That ukrainian story gave a fertile ground for the ideas based on “Jewish conspiracy” theories.

Belarus is not an exception. Radicals live even in this country. The idea of “jews are guilty in everything” is still alive. “Jew-supporters” without any problems draw Magen Davids on posters with jewish artists in the center of Minsk (Belarusian capital) without condemnation even from Jewish organizations. Even more, the only belarusian Jewish news web site jews.by is being pressured by some officials from Jewish organizations when it points on hot issues.







In this atmosphere Israeli embassy in Belarus is the last defense line but somebody in Israel decided to leave belarusian jews without protection. Is this an act of revenge against Avigdor Lieberman? Yes, he was extremely effective as a Minister for foreign affairs and he decided not to lie to his electorate and did not join this strange coalition that we have today. But is this a good excuse to leave thousands of Jews without any protection? I doubt. Mr. Lieberman reopened the embassy and the last ambassador Joseph Shagal who has been the best head of the diplomatic mission and he has brought political and economic relation between the states in the highest level ever is his friend. First of all the government fired the ambassador and after that they announced decision to close the embassy in the country that has become one of the world's arenas in solving international problems. Was this decision wise? I doubt again.



That is the official reason to close the embassy? To cut expenses. Do you believe this? This is the worst possible excuse in diplomatic world. It's like a slap in the face. They are talking about cutting expenses (the annual budget for the embassy was – 3 million dollars) and at the same time give 3 billion dollars to ultraorthdox voters. Half of them don't even recognize Israel. Together with the embassy will be closed Israeli cultural center which is home for hundreds of teenagers, families and aged persons. This center is the only official organization that promotes love to Israel in Belarus.


After that don't tell that all jews are equal and they are equally important for Israel. Maybe it will be a surprise for you, but olim hadashim from exUSSR countries don't even get darkon when they ask for a passport. They havea to live at least a year in Israel to obtain a right for this document and the western jews will not have this kind of problem.

Save the embassy, save the Jewish heart

 



Meir Yuspa

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photo Wikimedia Commons, Meir Yuspa


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