JTA NEWS
24 May 2017 - 28 Iyyar 5777 - כ"ח אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ז
JTA NEWS :
Cambodia
What's Jewish about Cambodia? Print E-mail
 

The Kingdom of Cambodia borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east and southeast. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer background, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese. The country's population is over 13 million people and the capital and largest city is Phnom Penh.

While today it is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for everyone from the backpacking set to the Frommer's guide touting five star tourists, the age-old beauty of Angkor Wat and its many temples stands in the shadows of the horrific legacy left by the Khmer Rouge.

Researchers estimate that from 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge soldiers killed 1.7 million Cambodians, over 21 percent of the population of the country. Other estimates put death tolls as high as three million. Many of these murders took place in the "killing fields", the most infamous of which is Choeung Ek, just nine miles from Phnom Penh. Also infamous was the Tuol Sleng prison, once a school, where prisoners were tortured and killed.

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