Zimbabwe’s tiny Jewish community this week said it was “business as usual” as the country’s military rolled into the capital to detain the elderly president Robert Mugabe and arrest those in his inner circle.
Amid images of tanks on the street and senior soldiers taking over the airwaves, concern mounted on Wednesday morning amid fears that the military coup would be met with armed resistance, but initial reports that Jews had been told to stay indoors proved unfounded.
“From afar, things look a lot worse than they are on the ground,” said Dave Bloom, who runs the Zimbabwe Jewish Community facebook group. “But the airports are open, people are getting around, it’s business as usual really.”
The president of the Harare Hebrew Congregation said the community was safe and “in no immediate danger,” he said.
There are only around 80 Jews living in the capital Harare, and 70 in Bulawayo, but there are two shuls in the impoverished country – one Ashkenazi, one Sephardi – as well as two Jewish primary schools and one Jewish secondary school, despite there being very few Jewish students.