Zebulon Simantov, the last of Afghanistan’s Jewish community, told Israeli media this week that the Jewish state shouldn’t rely on America to have its back.
For decades now, the relationship with Washington has been of utmost diplomatic importance due to the strong belief that the US would never again allow Israel’s existence to be seriously threatened.
But after the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, Simantov said that such logic has proved to be flawed.
The US spent 20 years and billions of dollars rebuilding Afghanistan and training and equipping a modern military force there. Both President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, expressed confidence that the new Afghan army was ready and able to prevent the country from ever again falling into the hands of Islamist extremists. And if things did start to go awry, there was a newfound feeling among Afghanis that America had their back.
Until they didn’t. And Simantov insists Israel must learn an important lesson from this.
“I say to Israel, don’t rely on the United States,” he told the Kan public broadcaster. “The United States and the international community brought bloodshed to Afghanistan. They didn’t bring peace. And they left the citizens in this situation [in which the Taliban is again in control].”
Simantov, who stubbornly remained in Afghanistan for many years after the rest of the Jewish community had fled, was himself finally compelled to leave as the Taliban seized the country. He reportedly trekked by foot to the border and crossed into an unspecified neighboring country, from where he hopes to gain asylum in the West.