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An Israeli rabbi visited the Jewish community of Syria.

Yisrael Meir Gabbai, a fervently Orthodox rabbi who holds Israeli and French passports, traveled to Syria on the latter last month.

Gabbai told the religious newspaper Hamodia that he was welcomed by the local Jewish community and walked around Damascus freely, despite his distinctive garb.

The rabbi came away with a fairly positive impression of a state that Israel considers an arch-foe, though there has been recent talk of reviving peace talks between Jerusalem and Damascus.

“It’s not Iran, which wants to destroy Israel,” Gabbai told Hamodia. “All they want is the Golan.”

According to the report, leaders of the small Syrian Jewish community told Gabbai that they are well treated by President Bashar Assad. But Assad critics have noted that minorities in Syria, a police state, are unlikely to voice open criticism of the regime.

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