Marking the end of the 2,000-year-old Jewish community, Zabulon Simantov, the man who has been known as the last Jew in Afghanistan since the next to the last Jew died in 2005, is leaving for Israel, fearing that the U.S. military’s promise to leave the country will leave a vacuum to be filled with radical groups such as the Taliban.
The Star For centuries, the country’s Jewish community — estimated to be as large as 40,000 strong at its peak — filled many synagogues every Friday night and Saturday. Over time, however, the community gradually declined to 10,000, to hundreds, to 10, to two — and eventually to one single Jew, Simantov. Simantov says he remained in Afghanistan to save the final house of worship and keep the Jewish community alive.
The community was several thousand strong at the turn of the 20th century, spread across several cities. They later left the country en masse, mostly for the newly created state of Israel. Simintov’s wife and daughters also left for the Jewish state, but he decided to stay behind with his Afghan “brothers.”