A British man whose grandfather survived the Holocaust said he would move to Israel when he is done fighting Islamists in Syria.
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Timothy Paul Jacobs-Woodworth, 37, revealed his plan to immigrate in an interview published Sunday by the news site Ynet. One of Jacobs-Woodworth’s grandfathers survived the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, after losing his mother at Auschwitz-Birkenau and his father in Theresienstadt.
But Jacobs-Woodworth’s Jewish grandfather converted to Christianity after the Holocaust, and he was brought up as a Christian.
Still, Jacobs-Woodworth, who used to be a soldier in the British army, considers himself to be of Jewish origin and has drawn many Hebrew-language graffiti reading “Nachman me’Uman” — a slogan of the Breslov Hassidic sect – on buildings which he took over while fighting as a volunteer in Syria with Kurdish soldiers against Islamic State, or ISIS, fighters.
Jacobs-Woodworth tried to immigrate to Israel in 2005 under its law of return for Jews and their descendants but his application for immigration, or aliyah, was declined because his grandfather is not considered a Jews following his conversion to Christianity. Jacobs-Woodworth was eventually deported for overstaying his visa and banned from re-applying for 10 years, Ynet reported. But he told Ynet he would re-apply this year.
His connection with the Breslov sect began three years ago in London. “A Jewish Orthodox friend got me to join him on a trip to Uman,” Jacobs-Woodworth told Ynet in reference to the Ukrainian city where the sect’s founder, Rabbi Nachman, is buried. “That was in 2012, and I have visited Uman three times since.”
Jacobs-Woodworth said that before he joined the Kurdish fighters, he used to visit London’s North Western Reform Synagogue.