|Over the past 14 years, Venezuelan Jews have been leaving the country in droves. When Chavez was elected in 1999, there were more than 20,000 Jews living in Venezuela. Today the community is estimated to have fallen to less than half that number.|
Most recently, there were revelations that Venezuela’s intelligence service, SEBIN, was spying on the country's Jewish communty.
While Chavez never explicitly threatened the Jews of Venezuela, his frequent harassment and staunchly anti-Israel positions kept them continually on edge. Afraid to criticize their president, the Jewish community found itself in a predicament that took on a frightening resemblance to the one faced by Jews in another staunchly anti-Western, anti-Zionist country: Iran.
But even with Chavez gone, felled by an undisclosed form of cancer at age 58 just weeks into his fourth term, Venezuelan Jews aren’t quite ready to exhale.
For one thing, Chavez leaves behind a country wracked by violent crime and mired in economic turmoil. For another, Chavez played such a commanding role in Venezuelan life and politics that nobody is quite sure what will happen to the country.
Perhaps most notably for Venezuela’s Jews, far fewer of them are still around to find out...¨ please read it all:
Thanks to Uriel Heilman, JTA