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Vietnamese ‘boat People’ in Israel Mark the ‘year of the Pig’

The “Year of the Pig” was celebrated in Israel this week. It was marked by the 330-member Vietnamese community — the “boat people” — who fled the Communist regime in Vietnam and were granted refuge by Israel in 1977 after being denied haven by their neighbors in southeast Asia.

The Vietnamese held a party of the community center in Azor, a town near Tel Aviv where they live. They greeted their new year with traditional dances in their native costumes and a feast of Vietnamese dishes, some of which have acquired a Middle Eastern flavor. Of the 450 Vietnamese who landed in Israel 6 years ago, about 120 have left for other countries. Those who remain have found employment chiefly in the restaurant and hotel trades.