The modern generation of Jamaica’s Jewish elite are beneficiaries of the legacy of sweat equity of their forbears, says Joseph M. Matalon, chairman of the ICD Group and one of the island’s most recognised Jewish business moguls.
Matalon, the son of clan patriarch Mayer Matalon, offered that historical analysis during the launch of the book Mayer Matalon: Business, Politics and the Jamaican Jewish Elite at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston on Monday.
“It is like any other immigrant population that they go into a new country. They have to try very hard to integrate, they have to try very hard to make their way. They knew the value of education and working very, very hard – things that required a minimum of capital and a maximum of hard work,” he told The Gleaner in an interview.
The younger Matalon also paid tribute to the fact that Jamaica was one of a few counries in the world where Jews and Arabs live in harmony.
Both ethnic groups trace their ancestry to Abrahamic heritage in biblical lore but have been engaged in bitter and bloody battles, primarily in the Middle East, which have boiled over across political lines and geographic borders.