March 02, 2008

When Jewish communities lose their voices

Jews are forced to live in danger in Venezuela. Excerpted from JPost:

A few weeks ago, on the eve of a national referendum through which Venezuela's dictatorial President Hugo Chavez narrowly failed to secure his indefinite re-election, federal police raided the main Jewish social club in Caracas, La Hebraica.

It was a seemingly negligible incident, and one that attracted only the briefest media attention: As hundreds of local Jews were enjoying a wedding party at the nearby Union Israelita Synagogue, the cops broke through the gate and proceeded to search the premises, absurdly, for weapons and explosives. They left, needless to say, empty-handed.

Two years ago, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency recalled in its report on the raid, the police had done much the same thing at a Jewish school in the capital - entering the premises in a purported search for arms that turned up nothing. In both cases, the unsubtle message was that Venezuela's Jews are being watched carefully by a regime whose leader meets regularly with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and who has declared that the "descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ" have "taken possession of all the wealth in the world."

For more on Jewish life in Venezuela, see these articles.