Zebulon Simentov has been referred to himself as the ‘last Jew’ to leave Afghanistan, after he had promised to leave Afghanistan if the Taliban returned to power.
Now with the country in the hands of Islamist fundamentalists, the last Jew in the country, Simentov fled to seek refuge in the United States or Israel, according to an Israeli-American businessman who organised his escape.
Zebulon Simentov, born in the late 1950s in Herat, in western Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of Jews have lived for 2,500 years, told AFP in April that he would not remain in the country if the Taliban regained power.
“I am the last, the only Jew in Afghanistan (…) Things can get worse for me here. “I have decided to leave for Israel if the Taliban return,” he said at the time.
And so it happened: according to Moti Kahana, the boss of a security company, Simentov left Afghanistan and has been in a “neighboring country” since Wednesday, before being transferred to New York.
For decades, Simentov refused to leave Afghanistan. He survived the Soviet invasion, the civil war, the first Taliban regime and the occupation of US and NATO troops.
“He did not want to leave,” Kahana told AFP, adding that Simentov’s life was in danger from the Afghan branch of the Islamic State but he finally came to his senses.
A total of 29 people fled with him, including his “best friend” and his children, according to the businessman.
According to Kahana, the last Jew from Afghanistan has a family in New York and would like to join them for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur on September 15 and 16.