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Southern Kyrgyz Jews Brought To Israel

Israeli news outlets are reporting that a dozen Jews from conflict-torn southern Kyrgyzstan arrived in Tel Aviv on June 20 and were immediately offered Israeli citizenship. Assisted by Jewish organizations, they were transferred to Israel to avoid the violence that has claimed as many as 2,000 lives in the southern part of the country. They were due to take part in a welcome ceremony today. There have not been any reports of Jews being targeted in the ethnic clashes that erupted on June 10.

According to the Jewish Federations of North America, southern Kyrgyzstan is home to less than 70 Jews, with the majority of the country’s estimated 1,500-strong Jewish community living in the capital, Bishkek. The group also says a Jewish school in Bishkek, which closed in April when anti-government riots broke out, has been reopened with increased security. More than 70 students attend the school, some from mixed Jewish-Muslim homes.

-- Richard Solash