The Vanishing Jews of Transnistria

Sept. 24 2019

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a small sliver of land on the east bank of the Dniester River broke away from the newly independent republic of Moldova and declared itself an independent state. A brief war established the new borders of Transnistria—as this new country styled itself—and since then it has functioned independently even if neither the UN nor any of its members recognize it as such. Supported by Moscow, it serves as a pro-Russian outpost on Ukraine’s western border. Transnistria’s Jews suffered extreme brutality during the Holocaust, and now the remnants of the Jewish community are leaving, writes Cnaan Lipshiz:

Of the eleven synagogues in [the capital] Tiraspol before the fall of Communism, only one remains. Housed in a residential building, a graying group of about a dozen men and women convenes there every Sunday. The younger generation consists of fewer than ten people.

Nowadays, freedom of worship is assured to Transnistrian Jews and anti-Semitism is marginal, local Jews say. But many still want to leave for economic reasons. Salaries here are half those on offer in Moldova, Europe’s poorest nation.

A 1930 census of Bender, [another Transnistrian city, then part of Romania], reported that half of its residents said their mother tongue was Yiddish. Thousands of non-Jews also spoke the language because of their close work and trade with Jews. . . . Most of the city’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust and the few survivors emigrated as soon as they could. None of Bender’s dozen synagogues is still in use.

As in Transnistria, Moldova’s Jewish population has also been decimated by mass emigration. Still, Jewish life has survived far better there, in part because it has absorbed some of the thousands of Jews who have left Transnistria. Chisinau [formerly Kishinev], Moldova’s capital, has four synagogues and about 3,500 members of its Jewish community.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: East European Jewry, Russia, Ukraine

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank