We’ll burn you, Guatemalans tell their Jewish neighbours

By Naomi Firsht, May 30, 2014
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Guatemala countryside (pixabay)

Guatemala countryside (pixabay)

A Guatemalan mayor has reportedly asked Jewish residents to leave his town.

Mayor Rodolfo López of San Juan La Laguna, in the Sololá state, encouraged villagers to attack the small, strictly-Orthodox Jewish community, according to online radio station Emisoras Unidas.

Jewish residents said they were targeted with verbal and physical abuse. The windows of a house were smashed with rocks and a firework set off next to the building, they said.

Community members were also asked to sign up to a municipal registry, verifying whether they were legally allowed in the country.

When the Jewish community sought extra security from the municipality, they were presented with a petition - allegedly signed by 300 people - and told they had to leave the area within 45 days.

“We, as a local authority, have nothing against the Jewish community,” Mr López told the Times of Israel on Tuesday. “But every community, and especially ours, as indigenous Mayans, has very special customs and traditions and we have to defend our rights.”

Jewish convert Misael Santos told newspaper Prensa Libre that residents uploaded pictures of Hitler on a local website and told Jewish community members they would put them in cremation ovens.

“They asked us to get out of town because they said that we kidnap children, and then added to the fire by saying the town would be invaded by Jews,” he said.

San Juan La Laguna has a population of 10,000 and is home to just 10 Jewish families.

Residents reportedly complained to municipal authorities about Jewish community members using a public water facility as a mikveh and performing the ritual of kaparot – the tradition of a Rabbi swinging a chicken round his head before slaughtering it.

Last updated: 5:42pm, May 30 2014