‘Leave before it’s too late’: Rabbi warns Armenia ‘is dangerous for Jews,’ urges mass emigration

Azeri rabbi urges Jews to leave Armenia following attack on synagogue.

By World Israel News Staff

Time is running out for Armenia’s Jewish community, a rabbi from the neighboring country of Azerbaijan warned Thursday, urging Jews living in the Caucus republic to emigrate immediately, following two high-profile antisemitic incidents.

Rabbi Zamir Isayev, a leader of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan – a predominantly Islamic republic between Armenia and Iran which has been engaged in a long-running conflict with Armenia – took to Twitter/X Thursday to reiterate his warning to Jews living Armenia.

“A few weeks ago I warned that staying in Armenia is dangerous for Jews. Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora raised the possibility of violence against Jews twice during last month.  The reason is Israel’s close relations with Azerbaijan, and also the fact that we, rabbis, oppose the usage of the Holocaust topic for propaganda purposes.”

“And then, unfortunately, in the middle of the Sukkot holiday there is an attack on the synagogue in Yerevan. But this was expected – hate speech provokes violence and intolerance. Desecration of a synagogue anywhere in the world is a serious crime. We reject with disgust any threat to damage the holy places of the people of Israel.”

“I repeat my call to the Jews in Armenia: Leave, and if you need help, I’ll take care of it.  Leave before it’s too late…”

On Tuesday, Armenia’s only synagogue was vandalized just days after a 14-person Israeli medical delegation arrived in Yerevan to offer assistance following a huge fuel depot explosion that killed at least 20 people and injured hundreds more.

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), a militant Armenian group that was armed and trained by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1980s, claimed responsibility for the vandalism.

“The Jews are the enemies of the Armenian nation, complicit in Turkish crimes and the regime of Aliyev, stained with the blood of the Republic of Armenia,” the ASALA said. “This is a warning: our successful operation on October 3 in Yerevan is only the beginning. Every rabbi will be on our radar.”

Tensions between Israel and Armenia have been on the rise, following Azerbaijan’s successful campaign to retake the Nagorno-Karabakh area from Armenia. Azerbaijan’s military has been armed in part by weapon sales from Israel.

While there are no reliable figures regarding the number of Jews living in Armenia, estimates range from 500 to 1,000.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the population was believed to be no larger than 100 to 200, but increased following the mass-migration of tens of thousands of Russian nationals, including hundreds of Russian Jews.

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