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Peru: Amazonian Jews plan Holy Land exodus01:24

Peru: Amazonian Jews plan Holy Land exodus

Peru, Iquitos
May 4, 2013 at 23:56 GMT +00:00 · Published

Peru: Amazonian Jews plan Holy Land exodus

Hundreds of Amazon Jews, from the Peruvian Jungle city of Iquitos, ready the last remnants of their community for a modern day Exodus to Israel. The community is set to leave when the Jewish Agency, which manages foreign immigration to Israel, confirms their departure date.

Israel's famously conservative immigration process took several years to decide on the Iquitos case, a decision only coming when the Interior Ministry overturned their opposition to the several hundred mixed-race Peruvian converts entering the Jewish State in late April 2013. A conservative rabbinical court pronounced the converts Jews in August 2011, upon their completion of the mandatory five years of Torah study.

The new citizens are keen to express their support for the Jewish state, with local Jose Levy ready to join the Israeli army, saying: "I am prepared to give my life to Israel because it is a land where all Jews can freely express their Jewish religion."

Jorge Abramovitz, President of the Jewish Association of Iquitos, already has a daughter who has joined the IDF. His son, Eric, is the next in line to join up, once he reaches his 18th birthday. Abramovitz said: "I would back my son to fight for Israel, because Israel is the only place where a Jew has all the guarantees. And it is worth fighting for those ideals." Jorge will stay in Peru, but plans to eventually retire to Israel with his wife.

The 284 'Jews of the Amazon' are of Moroccan decent, born of traders who emigrated to the Peruvian Amazon basin during the late 19th century rubber boom. The emigration is the third and largest from Iquitos, the city's first émigrés having fled in 2004. The immigration process, commonly known as 'aliyah' derives, from the Hebrew word for ascent.

Peru: Amazonian Jews plan Holy Land exodus01:24
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Peru: Amazonian Jews plan Holy Land exodus

Hundreds of Amazon Jews, from the Peruvian Jungle city of Iquitos, ready the last remnants of their community for a modern day Exodus to Israel. The community is set to leave when the Jewish Agency, which manages foreign immigration to Israel, confirms their departure date.

Israel's famously conservative immigration process took several years to decide on the Iquitos case, a decision only coming when the Interior Ministry overturned their opposition to the several hundred mixed-race Peruvian converts entering the Jewish State in late April 2013. A conservative rabbinical court pronounced the converts Jews in August 2011, upon their completion of the mandatory five years of Torah study.

The new citizens are keen to express their support for the Jewish state, with local Jose Levy ready to join the Israeli army, saying: "I am prepared to give my life to Israel because it is a land where all Jews can freely express their Jewish religion."

Jorge Abramovitz, President of the Jewish Association of Iquitos, already has a daughter who has joined the IDF. His son, Eric, is the next in line to join up, once he reaches his 18th birthday. Abramovitz said: "I would back my son to fight for Israel, because Israel is the only place where a Jew has all the guarantees. And it is worth fighting for those ideals." Jorge will stay in Peru, but plans to eventually retire to Israel with his wife.

The 284 'Jews of the Amazon' are of Moroccan decent, born of traders who emigrated to the Peruvian Amazon basin during the late 19th century rubber boom. The emigration is the third and largest from Iquitos, the city's first émigrés having fled in 2004. The immigration process, commonly known as 'aliyah' derives, from the Hebrew word for ascent.

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