Forget Borat – Kazakhstan is friendly to Jews

IT may not be at the top of your bucket list but there is a lot to be admired about the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

For a start, it shares common interests and close ties with Israel. In fact, it is not unusual to hear praise for the Jewish state.

Pay no attention to bumbling racist Borat — portrayed by Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen — going on about Kazakhstan being a nation where Jews are hated. The reality is very different.

Kazakhstan is a pluralistic country with a small but flourishing Jewish life.

Borat notwithstanding, antisemitism there is relatively unknown, as is jihadism.

Though the country is 70 per cent Muslim, it is legally and culturally secular. The country’s politicians have been known to brag about how, in developing its capital it is only “second to Israel” when it comes to having planted 50 million trees.

That capital is Nur-Sultan, named after the country’s first president, Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev. Though he resigned under pressure in 2019 after 29 years in power, his influence is still felt.

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