Economic crisis in Venezuela has shrunk Jewish community by half, local says

Moisés, 61, told Channel 2 News that he believes Israel should take action in order to assist the Jewish community in the impoverished country.
Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The ongoing economic crisis in Venezuela has shrunk the Jewish community by half over the past decade, a local has told Channel 2 News. "It's a very difficult situation here, not just for Jews – for everyone," said Moisés, 61.

"We have the highest inflation in the world here. The supermarkets are all empty. There's no oil, no rice, none of the things we need," said Moisés, speaking from Venezuela's capital of Caracas, to which he had come in order to meet with the country's chief rabbi ahead of his son's bar mitzvah.

The Jewish community in Caracas, while still the largest in the country, has gone from 30,000 people down to 15,000, Moisés added. "We can still leave, but the door is slowly closing," he said. "In less than a year, the situation is going to explode."

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Riots in Venezuela Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Despite the fact that Venezuela has one of the world's largest oil reserves, its government has failed to utilize the profits to assist its citizens.

There are some among the Jewish community who have called upon Israel to take action, as it is doing in Ethiopia. "It's true that Israel should be more in touch with the Jews here, because it might be able to do something for them," said Moisés, adding that he hasn't lost hope that the situation might improve. "I'm optimistic, that's why I'm still here."



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