Less than ten Jews live in Palau, with a few more that
are half-Jewish. Most of the population, including the Jews, are involved
in the tourism industry, a major part of the country’s economy.
One Israeli family lives in Palau, Navot and Tova Bornovski; together
they own and manage a dive shop. The most recognized Jew in Palau is
Larry Miller, Associate Justice on the Palauan Supreme Court.
With the Philippines being so close to the Palau islands,
many natives fear the spread of terrorism that has plagued the Philippines for the past few decades. Following
September 11, 2001, the government removed all Muslim guest workers from the country in fear of an attack. Nevertheless, Palau
is a religiously diverse and welcoming country.
Anti-Semitism is non-existent on the islands and the government tends to regularly
vote with Israel in the United
Nations. Almost all Palauan recognize the right of the State of
Israel and proclaim support for the country. This support stems from
their view of Jews as God’s chosen people. Israel was the first
non-Pacific nation to declare diplomatic relations with Palau at its
independence in 1994. Furthermore, Israel quickly favored Palau’s
admission into the United Nations and offered economic aid. The Israeli
Foreign Ministry has sent convoys of fisheries and agricultural exports
to Palau to help train the local population. Israel maintains an Embassy
in the capital, Koror.
Sources: “Friends of Micronesia”; “Palau welcomes new Israeli Ambassador”