– A once-thriving community with roots dating back hundreds of years, they are now a silent and forgotten minority
– Arab News tracked down Lebanese Jews in the diaspora to talk to them about their memories of a lost ‘paradise’
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As Gulf countries embrace more faiths in a growing climate of tolerance, Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English language daily, takes on the topic of Lebanon’s Jewish community as part of a new series called Minority Report.
The long-form multimedia story, to be published online in French and English on Sept. 12, includes video interviews with members of the community and graphics showing when and where they settled, shining a light on this silent and forgotten minority.
“As the voice of a changing region, Arab News takes on topics that were once taboo in the region,” said Faisal J. Abbas, the Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. “This is a story that deserves to be told, and we hope that it promotes a dialogue between Arabs and Jews. We may have our differences, but we also have similarities.”
Arab News’ New York correspondent Ephrem Kossaify (fiephremkossaify) stumbled into the story in a store in Brooklyn’s Gravesend neighborhood, where the signs were in Hebrew but everyone inside spoke the Lebanese dialect.
“It turns out all of Gravesend is a miniature of Lebanese culture: stores, bakeries, social norms, language,” said Kossaify. “Of course that was fascinating because we hardly ever hear of the existence of a Lebanese Jewish minority.”
Kossaify’s research led him to the historian Nagi Zeidan, who dedicated the last 20 years to finding out more about the Jewish community in his homeland, which will appear in a soon- to-be published book in French called “Juifs du Liban.” Zeidan’s editorial, in which he says “a dialogue is possible,” concludes the Minority Report.