- Ransoms and Escape to Turkey

From 1958-1962, Jews are allowed to leave Syria after paying a ransom. 2,800 Jews flee to Syria. Jews who cannot afford the ransom continue to try to escape, some hiring smugglers to take them across the Turkish border, 60 miles from Aleppo.

The Israeli government hires agents to help the Jews escape, one of them is Rabbi Ya’akov Shamosh. Born in Aleppo, he had been appointed by the Aleppan community in Iskenderun, Turkey as the shohet and rabbi.

“My father was the rabbi of the community in that area. From 1948 and up, when they come to Turkey, they heard in Syria, in Aleppo, there is somebody in Iskenderun, Rabbi Yaakov Shamosh. If you reach his house, he can help you. They come to our house like 5:00, 6:00 in the morning. Sometimes 20, sometimes 30 people. And we take them to Istanbul. From there, Israeli Consulate transfer them to Israel. I started to take families when I was 12 years old. My father said, ‘We did it because we were there. Anybody was there, he will do the same thing.’” – Zeki Shamosh Imir, Episode 7

(Image of Rabbi Ya’akov Shamosh, who helped Jews escape to Turkey.)

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