Israel Ties Warming with Central Asian Countries

(Jerusalem Post) Ariel Ben Solomon - The friendly relations between Israel and Central Asian countries go back to WWII when the then-Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan hosted an estimated two million refugees from the Nazi German invasion of the USSR - more than half of them Jews. Vadim Altskan, senior project director of the International Archival Programs at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, said that his family fled from the Ukraine to Kazakhstan and worked with locals in agriculture from 1941 to 1944. "This is a story of Jewish-Muslim coexistence," he explained. Today, the moderate, mostly secular Muslim Central Asian states are concerned about radical Islamic forces and cooperate with Israel in the security arena to keep extremist groups from gaining a foothold. The shared history of Jewish refugees in Central Asian countries aides in the effort by these countries to improve relations with Israel.

2018-10-19 00:00:00

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