There is a tiny Jewish community of about twenty families in Indonesia . It lives mainly in Surabaya , second city and second port of the country and capital of the province of East Java .

According to the 2010 official census, 87.2% of Indonesians are Muslim, 7% Protestant, 2.9% Catholic, 1.7% Hindu, 1.3% other or unanswered, which includes Buddhism, Judaism and Orthodox Christianity 1 .

In the 1850s , an emissary from Jerusalem , Jacob Saphir, visited Batavia (now Jakarta) in what was then the Dutch East Indies and met a Jewish merchant from Amsterdam who quoted him the number of 20 Jewish Dutch or German families installed in the city, and some other Jews in Semarang (Central Java) and Surabaya 2 . These families are not religious. At the request of this emissary, the Jewish community of Amsterdam sends a rabbi to try to organize communities in Batavia and Semarang . Subsequently, Jews from Baghdadand Aden join their co – religionists in the Dutch colony 2 .

In 1921 , Zionist envoy Israel Cohen estimates that 2,000 Jews live in Java. The governor of Surabaya is then a Jew, several other members of the community are high officials and other merchants 2 . The Jews of Baghdad , the most religious, form the hard core of the community. In 1930 , the number of Jews originating in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union increases 2 .

In 1957 , there are more than 450 Jews throughout Indonesia, became independent in 1945. The community of Jakarta is mainly composed of Ashkenazim , that of Surabaya of Sephardic 2 . In 1963, the community no longer has 50 members and in 1997, 20, part in Jakarta and the rest in Surabaya, where they maintain a synagogue 2 . Anti-Jewish reactions began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s as a reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . In 2009, Indonesian Islamists close the century-old synagogue in Surabaya in retaliation for the 2008-2009 Gaza WarIsraeli military operation against Palestinian Hamas 3 . This synagogue was no longer used for the offices but was still used during burials. On site is still a Jewish cemetery in disrepair 3 .

In 2010 , only a functioning synagogue remains in the country. Located in Manado on the northern tip of the island of Celebes it is built in 2000 and is attended by about ten people 3 . In this city whose population is essentially of evangelical obedience , a small movement of return to their Jewish roots is born among certain descendants of Jews who have converted to Islam or Christianity to the independence of Indonesia to ensure their tranquility. They are supported by Rabbi Lubavitch of Singapore who guides them in the process of conversion to Orthodox Judaism3 . This movement is viewed favorably by the local authorities. Pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli sympathies are indeed strong in this region where evangelical and charismatic movementsof European and American origin were established in the 1990s . The government of North Sulawesi has erected on the heights of the city a menorah 18 meters high in reference to that adorning the entrance to the knesset , the Israeli parliament 3. This construction is partly motivated by the hope of bringing on the spot European tourists and businessmen. According to some experts, the growing interest of local people for pro-Israel evangelical movement is a reaction to the rise of orthodox Islam in the rest of the archipelago 3 .

See also

  • Synagogue of Surabaya

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ” Penduduk Menurut Wilayah dan Agama Yang Dianut ”  [ archive ] , Sensus Penduduk 2010 , Jakarta, Indonesia, Badan Pusat Statistik (accessed November 20, 2011 ) : “Religion is belief in Almighty God that must be possessed by every human being. Religion may be divided into Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Hu Khong Chu, and Other Religion. ” Muslim 207176162 (87.18%), Christian 16,528,513 (6.96), Catholic 6,907,873 (2.91), Hindu 4,012,116 (1.69), Buddhist 1,703,254 (0.72), Khong Hu Chu 117091 (0.05) Other 299 617 (0.13), Not Stated 139582 ( 0.06), Not Asked 757118 (0.32), Total 237641326
  2. ↑ a , b , c , d , e and f Jewish Community of Indonesia ”  [ archive ] , on Beit Hatfutstot, the museum of the Jewish people (accessed December 14, 2010 )
  3. ↑ a , b , c , d , e and f Norimitsu Onishi, ” In Sliver of Indonesia, Public Embrace of Judaism “, New York Times , ( read online  [ archive ] )