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Syria - Government Invites Rabbi Pinto to Visit Damascus

Published on: May 1, 2011 06:13 PM
By: Read more at JPost
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Syria - With highly improbable timing, even as it guns down its own people while attempting to retain power, the Syrian government has invited an Israeli rabbi to visit the country where many of his forefathers are buried, and to pray at their Damascus gravesites.

Over the course of Mimouna celebrations at Moshav Gimzo, between Lod and Modi’in, last week, Jack Avital, the visiting head of the Brooklyn-based Sephardic National Alliance, told Rabbi Yeoshiau Pinto that the Syrian ambassador to the US, Imad Moustapha, had asked him to invite the rabbi to Syria.

One of Pinto’s forefathers, after whom he was named, was the rabbi of the Jewish community of Damascus in the first half of the 17th century.

Avital, one of the leaders of the Syrian-Jewish community of North America, has maintained good relations with President Bashar Assad and with Syrian officials in the US, and even headed small delegations of American Jews to Syriafor official visits in 2004 and 2006. A year ago, Avital told Pinto of his visits to Syria and suggested the rabbi visit there as well.

Pinto asked Avital to explore the possibility. An opportunity to do so arose at the wedding of Avidat’s daughter four months ago, attended by both Moustapha and the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, following which Avital spoke with the two diplomats.

They extended an official invitation to Pinto and ensured that he would have all the necessary security arrangements in place. Preliminary preparations began, including bringing glattkosher food from Turkey for the rabbi’s tentative visit to Syria.


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Read Comments (5)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 01, 2011 at 08:02 PM Anonymous Says:

If C'v Pinto were to accept this invitation and thereby lend legitimacy to the butchers in Damascus, he will have to answer for committing a big chillul hashem.

2

 May 01, 2011 at 08:57 PM Anonymous Says:

To #1- Isn't it better to have some dialogue going, rather than to invite future hostilities on Israel's northern border? Didn't EY continue dialogue with Germany during the 1950's, when there were many who said not to talk to them? One makes peace with their enemies, and not with their friends.

3

 May 01, 2011 at 09:06 PM 5TResident Says:

I wouldn't go - he could be kidnapped and held for ransom.

4

 May 01, 2011 at 09:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

To #1- Isn't it better to have some dialogue going, rather than to invite future hostilities on Israel's northern border? Didn't EY continue dialogue with Germany during the 1950's, when there were many who said not to talk to them? One makes peace with their enemies, and not with their friends.

Yes, EY had dialogue with Germany in the 1950s but NOT in the 1930 (when there was no EY). Talking to Assad would be like talking to Hitler.

5

 May 02, 2011 at 07:36 AM proud-mo-israeli Says:

"EY" didn't have dicussions with anybody. It was the State of Israel that did & as #4 correctly points out, it was after the war

6

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