Is Pak­istan’s ‘first of­fi­cial Jew in decades’ re­ally Jewish?

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

THE NEWS that Pak­istan had al­lowed a ci­ti­zen to reg­is­ter as Jewish for the first time in decades took a bizarre twist this week when his brother gave an in­ter­view say­ing the man’s claims about his “true” iden­tity had been in­vented.

Fis­chel Benkhald, who hit the head­lines in 2015 when he “outed” him­self as Jewish, was last week per­mit­ted by Pak­istan’s Na­tional Data­base and Reg­is­tra­tion Au­thor­ity to change his re­li­gious sta­tus.

But Mr Benkhald’s brother, Mo­hammed Iqbal, told the Daily Pak­istan news­pa­per: “I’m his elder brother work­ing in Saudi Ara­bia, would like to let you know that he is 100 per cent ly­ing.

“Al­ham­dulil­lah [praise the Lord] our par­ents both were Mus­lims and to­gether per­formed Haj [the pil­grim­age to Mecca] be­fore their death.

“My mother’s fa­ther was a Ra­jput Pun­jabi and her mother was a Syed Mus­lim, she never mi­grated from Iran like Faisal says.”

In his orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion to the Pak­istani In­te­rior Min­istry, Mr Benkhald said that he had been born in Karachi to a Jewish mother and Mus­lim fa­ther, the fourth of five chil­dren.

Mr Benkhald, who is 29, claimed he grew up recit­ing bless­ings over Shab­bat can­dles and watching his mother make chal­lah ev­ery Fri­day.

Mr Iqbal said he be­lieved his brother was suf­fer­ing from men­tal health is­sues.

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