Last Afghan Jew demands $10 million in order to move to Israel

Zabulon Simantov, the last remaining Jew to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, initially agreed to be flown to Israel. He is now demanding $10 million in order to do so.

 Zabulon Simantov, an Afghan Jew, prays at a Jewish cemetery in Kabul November 5, 2013. In his 50s, Simintov is the last known Afghan Jew to remain in the country. He has become something of a celebrity over the years and his rivalry with the next-to-last Jew, who died in 2005, inspired a play. (photo credit: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI)
Zabulon Simantov, an Afghan Jew, prays at a Jewish cemetery in Kabul November 5, 2013. In his 50s, Simintov is the last known Afghan Jew to remain in the country. He has become something of a celebrity over the years and his rivalry with the next-to-last Jew, who died in 2005, inspired a play.
(photo credit: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI)

Zebulon Simantov, the last known Jew to leave Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August, is demanding $10 million in order to come to Israel, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Simantov was extracted from Afghanistan in a rescue operation organized by an Israeli humanitarian contractor named Moti Kahana in September. He was flown to a country that has remained unnamed for security reasons, but is now in Istanbul, where he is staying in a hotel.

Kahana had originally offered to charter a flight to transport Simantov to Israel, and Simantov accepted but changed his mind at the last minute.

He requested instead to make his way to the US. 

Kahana made it clear to him, however, that he was not on the US's priority list and that it could take up to two years for him to receive a visa.

 Zabulon Simantov, an Afghan Jew, blows the traditional shofar, or ram's horn, at a synagogue in Kabul (credit: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI) Zabulon Simantov, an Afghan Jew, blows the traditional shofar, or ram's horn, at a synagogue in Kabul (credit: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI)

In response, Simantov demanded $10 million dollars in order to come to Israel, citing losses he incurred when leaving Afghanistan.

He also requested money for a winter coat, the Chronicle reported.

“I’m not a babysitter. I can’t go on funding and supporting Zebulon in Istanbul for an unlimited time, and I told him I won’t take him back to Kabul,” Kahana told the Chronicle in response.

Simantov's divorced wife and two daughters have lived in Israel since 1998. He also has a sister and brother who live in Holon.