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Afghanistan's 'last Jew' arrives in Istanbul after Turkey grants visa

With Turkey's help, Zebulun Simantov, 62, evacuated from Kabul, welcomed by Ashkenazi rabbi and relatives at Istanbul Airport

Abidin Mutlu Bozdag   | 17.10.2021
Afghanistan's 'last Jew' arrives in Istanbul after Turkey grants visa

ISTANBUL

Zebulun Simantov, known as the last Jew in Afghanistan, arrived in Istanbul on Sunday after Turkey granted him a visa.

Born in Afghanistan's Herat province on the Iranian border before living in the capital Kabul, Simantov, 62, had been evacuated from his home country some time ago.

Simantov arrived at Istanbul Airport by a scheduled flight from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, thanks to Turkey issuing a visa and the initiatives and assistance of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Simantov was welcomed by Mendy Chitrik, the Ashkenazi rabbi of Istanbul, and some of his relatives, and later left in a private car.

Simantov reportedly has a 90-day visa and will stay in Istanbul for some time.

Turkey has had Jewish communities since ancient times, and many expelled Spanish and Portuguese Jews were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Istanbul in particular still retains a Jewish community.

Turkey is also known for taking in rescued Jews during World War II.

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