Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijani Parliament's Committee on Human Rights, Jewish origin MP from Guba-Gusar constituency No. 53, Yevda Abramov, was interviewed by APA News Agency.
- How is the attitude towards the Jewish community in Azerbaijan? Do the Jews face any problems in Azerbaijan?
- The Jewish community in Azerbaijan has never had any problem and will no further have. On the other hand, since the day God created the Jews, they are good at problem-solving. Therefore, Jews do not have problems.
- And how were the relations between the Jewish lobby and Azerbaijani Diaspora established in foreign countries? In what form does the Jewish lobby support the Azerbaijani state?
-Israel was among the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan's independence, the world Jewish lobby has always been at the side of Azerbaijan. The relations between the Jewish lobby and Azerbaijan can be considered equal to mother-infant bond, there is no stepity in this relation. The friends of Azerbaijan living in Israel always support the Jewish lobby in the US to be at the side of Azerbaijan and justice. This support has not occurred in an empty space, the Jews do not lobby for anyone in vain. The lobbying serves to make better the living conditions of the Jews in Azerbaijan whose condition is already good and to increase the more active participation of Jews in the socio-political life of Azerbaijan. On the other hand, Israel has its own interests in this region, like other Middle Eastern states. In this sense, Jewish lobbying is always with Azerbaijan. Because Israel knows that Azerbaijan has a very fair position in the world.
- What is the level of representation of Jews in public-political life and state structures in Azerbaijan?
-There are not many Jews in the country as a percentage of the total number of the Azerbaijani population. After completing the population census in 2019, an accurate figure will be revealed but as far as I know, 20 thousand Jews live in Azerbaijan. There are Jews among scholars, teachers, doctors, engineers, as well as at the Azerbaijani Parliament and they are active in the socio-political life of the country. Today, a number of Mountain Jews from Azerbaijan play a key role in the Russian economy
-What is the level of the Jewish contribution to the Azerbaijani economy?
-Today, those Jewish businessmen, who have a great role in the Russian economy, have invested in several regions of Azerbaijan, such as Khudat, Guba, Gusar and Goychay, and after 1-2 years, the people of Azerbaijan will see its fruits. The Jews businessmen build homes, conservatory plants in the regions of Azerbaijan, create greenhouses, and hubs to send goods. Those hubs will very easily deal with the logistics of commodities and customs issues, to keep refrigerated warehouses and deliver them to the destination. New technologies are brought to the country in order to construct these hubs. Establishment of these habits in several border regions of Azerbaijan has been started. Azerbaijani people who produce crops will be able to sell their goods abroad by using Jewish businessmen's infrastructure. By the way, we spoke about Jewish businessmen, but some Azerbaijani billionaires have not invested in the country. I do not want to name them, our people know who they are.
-Do not you face any difficulties in delivering problems of the Jewish community to state institutions as an MP? Do you achieve your voice to be heard?
- I am one of the deputies who tell the truth; I don’t refrain from someone or have any dependence from anyone. I live for my people, for my voters. When I wanted something from any minister for the region, none of my efforts had been vain. But Azerbaijan is the only Republic in the world that here the request of MP is carried out by the President. I have been in the14 countries of the world, I have acquaintance with deputies, senators, and lords of those countries, but I have not come across this in other countries. I have asked from the President 3 or 4 times, and the President has ensured the implementation of these issues. For example, there is an arched bridge connecting Guba with Red Settlement, it is a historical monument. During Soviets, the documents had been burnt in the archives in order not to find out that under whose balance this bridge was. While the President was in Guba, he saw the bridge away and asked about it. I said “Mister president, it is a historical friendship bridge. It is connecting Azerbaijanis and jews, but it is in a very bad condition.” The President asked the reason. I said that it needs a restoration that demands a huge amount of money. The President just there has instructed that this bridge should be repaired. Now, people walks on this bridge like a park. Then, in Guba incidents, me and Vahid Ahmadov said that Mister president these people had come out with your posters in their hands when they protest to the chief of the Executive Power in March events. But most of those people have been detained. President has pardoned them. In which country has the President solved this issue raised by MP so operative?
I would like to note the issue of the mass grave found in Guba. We said that Mr President there are such genocide museums in Israel that people visit it. Genocide museum has been erected under the instruction of Mehriban Aliyeva in Guba.
I have also visited the Minister. My request has been carried out. I am not saying that he has done it for 3 days or a month. The minister has listened to my advice and listened to me till the end, then after a month the commission has come, seen that I said the truth, and then this work has been implemented.
The road was not laid in Khinalig for 72 years. After 72 years road was laid in Khinalig, and now the second road is being laid. 18 mln AZN has been allocated to the laid of the first road, while 13 mln AZN to the second. Why does the President do it? Both departures of people become comfortable and tourist visit these regions in the future. By the was the construction of the railway has been launched in Gusar. The construction of such a railway is very important in order to a revival of Shahdagh tourism.
I have raised the issue of building an international airport in Guba in front of the Cabinet of Ministers. I have issued a request, Cabinet of Ministers has answered that the construction of an international airport in Guba has not been withdrawn from agenda, but there is a capital investment issue. I individual businessmen support my proposal, then welcome, let them share the airport to be built, and be partners. This airport will also have a great deal of reflection. Famous international economists calculate that if this airport is built in Guba, it will be the most profitable airport after Baku, Ganja, and Nakhchivan. Guba airport will play a great role in the flight of passengers from all regions, not only from Azerbaijan but also from Makhachkala, Dagestan. Shahdagh tourism will be strengthened, Guba itself will become a tourism center, a lot of workplaces will be opened. Thus, if the airport is built in Guba, that airport will not work with loss as other airports in the area.
- Many members of the Jewish community left for Israel, as well as other foreign countries, at the beginning of the 90s. How is today’s condition? Is their a flow abroad?
-Nobody leaves Azerbaijan today. Unfortunately, 1990s’ accidents were so confusing that it was impossible to understand. Nobody could say another one that stays here, I would be responsible for you. Yes, Azerbaijan lost many genius people such as Gusman, Bauman, Kogan in that period. There were such families that were cardiologists for 200 years in Azerbaijan. Grandfather, father and son worked as a cardiologist. Well-known Jewish physicists and chief psychiatrist of the country left Azerbaijan. Some of them are working in the USA, Israel universities. They play a significant role in Israeli science. The flow was halted after Heydar Aliyev’s arrival to power. However, people began to tend to the capital of Russia thanks to business opportunities. Thus, a certain recession was observed in Jewish tribes. There is no flow from our country at the moment. Jewish residential areas in Azerbaijan are the most modern residential areas today.
By the way, our forefathers lived in one district and worked in another one during Tsar ruling. It is the same method, an economic process. Heydar Aliyev also stated that Azerbaijanis’ living abroad was an advantage, on one hand, our diaspora was strengthening. Our children learnt the culture of the country they lived, and it would bring additional values to our national values. The main point was that they should not forget Motherland, should be committed to the homeland. The main point was being able to maintain Nowruz holiday, Eid al-Adha, our traditions, origin, and language. You could earn your living, but should not forget your homeland. Leaving Jewish could return to Azerbaijan, as the history repeats itself. It was necessary to come to the homeland, they should be bonded at the heart to Azerbaijan.
- How can Azerbaijan-Israel current relations be assessed generally?
- Azerbaijani-Israel relations are at a very high level. There are fraternity and partnership ties between Israel and Azerbaijan. There is not any field, in which we have applied to Israel and they have deprived their financial and spiritual support. Today Israel stands by Azerbaijan in agricultural, scientific, medical, military, and other fields. Israel always supports Azerbaijan’s fair decisions and proposals in international organizations and events. There has not been any international event, in which Israel has voted against Azerbaijan. Israel halted diplomatic relations with Armenia for many years, withdrew its ambassadors. Israel has had very good Embassy, Culture Center, polyclinics, and doctors in Azerbaijan since 1991. Whole greenhouse areas of Azerbaijan are under control of Israeli specialists. Technology for long-term maintenance of foods has brought to Azerbaijan from Israel, so you can eat fresh vegetables throughout the whole year.
We already carry out 4 charter rails in a week. One of them is the USA-Israel-Baku transit; other ones are Baku-Tel-Aviv aircraft lines. According to the statistics of 2018, 14% of the tourists visiting Azerbaijan are Israeli citizens. There is not any day, when Red settlement, Gabala, and Shamakhi is visited by Israeli tourists. They stay here for 3-4 days, or a week. The prices are very affordable for them. They visit Gabala, Guba, stay in five-stared hotels and Baku, and lately, they come to these lands again.
Relations between two states and heads of states are at a very open and high level. What is required for ties with other countries, besides these? Both heads of states meet, conduct an exchange of ideas, and adopt decisions, profitable for both sides. Ministers and Chairmen of Committees of Azerbaijan have been to Israel, necessary bilateral agreements have been signed. Ministers of both countries of different fields carry out their works on the basis of these agreements.