Menu JTA Search

Syrian (bears) Make Aliyah

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Two offspring of a Syrian with the familiar name Assad left here for Israel this week after departure ceremonies attended by the Israeli ambassador to Switzerland, David Rivlin, and members of the Bern Jewish community.

The “olim,” named Dubi and Berna, have homes waiting for them in Jerusalem, at the Biblical Zoo, They are young bears, presented to President Chaim Herzog of Israel when he visited Bern last April. At the time, they were newborns, too young to travel.

The father bear was born in Syria, which probably accounts for his name, which he shares with Syrian President Hafez Assad. For some reason that fact embarrassed the president of the Bern Jewish community, who managed to keep it out of the press until now.

NEXT STORY