KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 18: Zebulon Simantov reads his old tatered hebrew prayer book as he celebrates the Jewish New Year feast of Rosh Hashanah September 18, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Zebulon, 57, claims to be the last Jew living in the war-torn conservative Muslim country and says he keeps a Kosher home. The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, coincides this year with Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim feast marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Born in northwestern Herat, Simantov attended Hebrew school before moving to Kabul at age 27. In 1992, he fled to Tajikistan, fleeing from Afghanistan's growing violence, married a Tajik Jew and had two daughters. The family immigrated in 1998 to Israel, but he returned to Kabul two months later, leaving them behind. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The man who has been known as the last Jew in Afghanistan for well over a decade is leaving for Israel, fearing that the U.S. military’s promise to leave the country will leave a vacuum to be filled with radical groups such as the Taliban.

“I will watch on TV in Israel to find out what will happen in Afghanistan,” Zabulon Simantov told Arab News on Sunday.

Simantov, 61, said he will leave after this year’s High Holidays season in the fall.

His wife, a Jew from Tajikistan, and their two daughters have lived in Israel since 1998. But Simantov has stayed in his native Afghanistan to tend to its lone synagogue, located in the capital Kabul, through decades of violence and political turmoil, including a period of Taliban rule and the country’s war with the U.S.

“I managed to protect the synagogue of Kabul like a lion of Jews here,” he said to Arab News.

Simantov, a carpet and jewelry seller, was born in the Afghan city of Herat, which decades ago was home to hundreds of Jews. He eventually moved to Kabul but fled to Tajikistan in 1992 before returning to the capital city.

Without him around, the synagogue will close, ending an era of Jewish life in the country that scholars believe began at least 2,000 years ago.

“If the Taliban return, they are going to push us out with a slap in the face,” Simantov toldRadio Free Europe last week for an article on the exodus of many of the country’s minority populations.

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