PARAGUAY & # x301; Y, a republic in South America. In the 16th and 18th centuries, when Paraguay was the possession of Spain, Spanish and Portuguese Marran lived in the country, but by the beginning of the 19th century, all of them assimilated (see Assimilation). After the independence of Paraguay (1811), the head of state, H. de Francia, invited several Jewish engineers from Austria to the country. One of them, F. Wiener de Morgenstern, becoming in 1847 the commander of the Paraguayan fleet, participated in the war of Paraguay with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay (1865-1870). In the 1870s-80s. in the country lived about 20 Jews, mostly immigrants from France. In 1904-1905 years. immigration to Paraguay of Ashkenazi from Russia and Poland began. In 1908 a group of Sephardim from Eretz-Israel moved to the country. They brought from Jerusalem a scroll of the Torah; so there was the first minyan in Paraguay.
In the 1910's and 20's. Several hundred Jews from Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey have moved to Paraguay; in 1917 the Jewish population of Paraguay numbered about 600 people. Almost all of them were engaged in trade, crafts and free trades; The attempt to create a Jewish agricultural settlement Colonia Franca ended in failure. In 1913 the Sephardic community "Templo Israelite Latino" arose, in 1916 it created a hevra kaddish and bought a plot of land for a Jewish cemetery. In 1920, the Ashkenazi community "Sociedad Union ebraika" was formed. In the years 1915-16. a group of Jews who lived in the capital, Asuncion, founded a cultural society and a women's organization. In 1924, the same youth center opened in the name of M. Nordau, in 1925 - the Talmud-torus.
In the years 1933-39. In Paraguay came about ten thousand (according to other sources - 15-20 thousand) Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, but almost all of them soon left the country. In 1941, about 1200 Jews lived in Paraguay. In the late 1930's. in the country anti-Semitic sentiments sharply increased; under their influence, the government expelled 17 Jewish families from Paraguay in 1938, and in 1939 banned the immigration of Jews. This ban was lifted in the mid-1940s, after which a group of European Jews survived the Holocaust. They formed the community "Union de Israelitas about Socorro Mutuo", later merged with the "Union Ebraika".
In the post-war period, the economic situation of the Jews of Paraguay was substantially strengthened; many of them became large industrialists and traders. General A. Stressner, who ruled the country in 1954-1989, was generally loyal to the Jews, but in the last years of his tenure in Paraguay, anti-Semitic propaganda sharply increased (with calls for an anti-Jewish boycott), which caused a strong protest from the organization Bnei-Brit.
The Jewish population of Paraguay (concentrated in Asuncion, Concepcion and Villarrica) in 2000 was about 900 people. In the 1980s. the emigration of a part of the Jewish population, especially young people, to Argentina and Brazil completely ceased in the late 1990s and early 2000s. because of the difficult economic and political crisis in Argentina. In the late 20 century. - early 21 century. there is an increase in the number of mixed marriages (see Marriage mixed). But in such families, most children receive Jewish education. In Asuncion, there are three synagogues: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Chabad movements. 71% of Jewish children study at the Jewish high school Estado de Israel. In Asuncion, there is the Jewish Museum of Paraguay. There is a Zionist organization in the country that united in 1955 a number of small circles and groups, a branch of the WICO, the Bnei B'rith Lodge. All Jewish communities and organizations of the country are members of the Jewish representative council of Paraguay.
The manifestations of anti-Semitism in modern Paraguay are quite rare. Thus, in June 2000, neo-Nazi pamphlets were distributed at the American University in Asuncion. The university professor, who took part in the distribution of pamphlets, was fired.
The representative of Paraguay to the United Nations voted in 1947 for a resolution on the partition of Palestine (see Plans for the partition of Palestine). Soon after the proclamation of the independence of Israel, Paraguay established diplomatic relations with him. The Israeli Embassy in Paraguay was opened in 1968. The interests of Paraguay in Israel are represented by the Ambassador of this country in Italy. Relations between the two countries are invariably friendly.