A Syrian boy crosses through the Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria, as seen from the Israeli side of the Golan Heights [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
News of the recent escape of a Jewish family from Syria to Israel was cleared for publication on Thursday.
The mixed Jewish-Muslim family fled the embattled country a few weeks ago, with two family members leading the way and the rest following later. They made their way through several dangerous road blocks manned by President Bashar Assad’s military and various opposition forces.
Eventually they managed to leave Syria and fly to Israel.
Once a flourishing community of thousands, around 20 Jews remain in Syria, all of whom live in Damascus.
Though they are allowed to leave the country, they have seemingly decided to ride out the conflict.
The rescue operation was facilitated by Moti Kahana, an Israeli-American businessman who has been involved in recent years in humanitarian efforts for Syrian refugees.
In the course of his humanitarian activity, he fostered connections with leaders of the Syrian opposition and enlisted their help to get the Jewish family out of the country.
The Jewish Agency and the Immigration and Absorption Ministry were privy to the secret efforts. The family members, who asked not to be named, are living in a government absorption center north of Tel Aviv.
To bring the family to Israel, Kahana cooperated with Israel Flying Aid, an NGO led by Gal Lusky. The organization is dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, but that find themselves in the midst of natural or human-made disasters.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Lusky and representatives of her organization last week. Netanyahu also met with Israel’s Scouts movement, which collected several tons of food, medication, clothing and other supplies for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey, and praised their work.