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Palau Virtual Jewish History Tour

[By: Ariel Scheib]

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”