Last Rabbi in Baghdad: Life is like "living in a prison"
BAGHDAD - Baghdad's last remaining rabbi announced on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar that he plans to leave Iraq.Truly sad. It's sad that the terrorists in Iraq have made it so bad, so terrifying for Jews that the only remaining rabbi in Baghdad is leaving.
Rabbi Emad Levy, one of about a dozen remaining members of the city's Jewish community, which once topped 100,000, compared his life to "living in a prison" as he broke his Yom Kippur fast Monday evening.
Levy said that his father fled to Israel after Iraq was invaded by the United States in 2003, but he stayed behind to care for a Jewish octogenarian sick with diabetes, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
The man is now in the care of friendly Kurds, Levy said, adding he will exit the country as soon as possible.
Levy said that most Iraqi Jews are homebound out of fear of kidnapping or execution. "It's like I'm living in a prison all the time," he said. "I have no future here. I must go out to have a life for myself.
"What should I do?" he continued. "Of course this is not the way Yom Kippur should be. When you are alone, it is very different than when you do it in the synagogue or with a lot of people. It is sad. This is why I must leave for the Holy Land."
When I read the comments section for this article on Ha'aretz, I saw people blaming the war in Iraq. In part they are correct. But some failed to see the whole picture. It's true that Iraq is a less secure place for Jews because of the war. However, this is not justification for being against the war. Most Jews supported (and continue to support) the operations in Iraq. In addition, Jews had an inferior quality of life in Iraq before the war. This was due to anti-Semitic Islamic legislation. Thus it isn't because of the war that life is less secure for Jews in Iraq - it's because of Islamic terrorism. And fundamentalist Islamic culture.
I'm not very religious myself, but a man named Yochanan from Jerusalem left an interesting comment on the Ha'aretz article, "The Torah teaches us that Bavel (Iraq) will be a place where no person will be able to live...This is because the Babylonians took us into exile."