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Last known Jew in Kabul soon to leave for Israel
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Last known Jew in Kabul soon to leave for Israel

Zebulon Simentov, who fled Afghanistan last month after the Taliban Israel takeover, landed Sunday in Turkey on what his rescuers say is a final stop before traveling to Israel, perhaps as soon as this week. It caps a weekslong odyssey that included an escape from his homeland as well as a videoconference divorce procedure meant to ensure he will not run into trouble with Israeli authorities. Under Jewish religious law, a husband must agree Israel to grant his wife a divorce, something he had refused to do for many years. Facing the prospect of legal action in Israel, where his ex-wife lives, Simentov, after resisting for years, finally agreed to the divorce last month in a special Zoom call supervised by Australian Israel rabbinical authorities.

The Associated Press viewed part of the proceeding.  Zebulon’s life was in danger in Afghanistan.

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, greeted Simentov at the airport in Istanbul on Sunday.

He said he had an appointment to take Simentov to the Israeli consulate on Monday to arrange his entry to Israel.

Chitrik said he had been working with Margaretten and other volunteers for several months to get Simentov out of Afghanistan. “I’m happy this issue is finally coming to rest,” he said.

How long that will take remains unclear. But the Taliban takeover in August seems to have been the last straw.

Hebrew manuscripts found in caves in northern Afghanistan indicate a thriving Jewish community existed there at least 1,000 years ago. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan was home to some 40,000 Jews, many of them Persian Jews who had fled forced conversion in neighboring Iran. The community’s decline began with an exodus to Israel after its creation in 1948.

He observed Jewish dietary restrictions and ran a kebab shop.

Born in the western city of Herat in 1959, he always insisted Afghanistan was home.

The Taliban, like other Islamic militant groups, are hostile to Israel but tolerated the country’s miniscule Jewish community during their previous reign.

This information came up in a report of BBC online on Friday. In January this year, a South Korean court sentenced 53-year-old Lee Jae-young, the heir to the technology company Samsung, to two and a half years in prison for bribery.

According to BusinessKorea, the charges stem from the merger between Samsung C&T and chemical and textiles company Cheil Industries in 2015. Lee has previously run afoul of the law, landing five years in prison back in 2017 on bribery charges

First, some context. After the retrial, the heir returned to prison this January. This left the heir with less than 1% actual ownership in the company prior to the merger.

To that end, he bribed Choi Sun-sil, a close friend of President Park Geun-hye, to a non-profit company worth 36.3 million. Park faced impeachment in Parliament because of this scandal. He will have to spend a total of 18 months in jail. As such, he has suffered almost half the punishment.

Lee Jae-young has been the head of Samsung since 2014.

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