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Subject : Jews kicked out of Arab Countries Part 2 


From : Flutie54@cs.com 


In Yemen from the seventh century on the Jewish populations suffered the

severest possible interpretation of the Charter of Omar. For about 4

centuries, the Jews suffered under the fierce fanatical edict of the most

intolerant Islamic sects. The Yemen Epistle by Rambam in which he

commiserated with Yemen's Jewry and besought them to keep the faith, and in

1724 fanatical rulers ordered synagogues destroyed, and Jewish public prayers

were forbidden. The Jews were exiled, many died from starvation and the

survivors were ordered to settle in Mausa, but later, this order was annulled

by a decree in 1781 due to the need of their skilled craftsmen.

Jacob Sappir a Jerusalem writer describes Yemeni Jews in Yemen in 1886:

"The Arab natives have always considered the Jew unclean, but his blood for

them was not considered unclean. They lay claims to all his belongings, and

if he is unwilling, they employ force...The Jews live outside the town in

dark dwellings like prison cells or caves out of fear...for the least

offense, he is sentenced to outrageous fines, which he is quite unable to

pay. In case of non-payment, he is put in chains and cruelly beaten every

day. Before the punishment is inflicted, the Cadi[judge] addresses him in

gentle tones and urges him to change his faith and obtain a share of all the

glory of this world and of the world beyond. His refusal is again regarded as

penal obstinacy. On the other hand, it is not open to the Jew to prosecute a

Muslim, as the Muslim by right of law can dispose of the life and the

property of the Jew, and it is only to be regarded as an act of magnanimity

if the Jews are allowed to live. The Jew is not admissible as a witness, nor

has his oath any validity.".

Danish-German explorer Garsten Neibuhr visited Yemen in 1762 described Jewish

life in Yemen: "By day they work in their shops in San'a, but by night they

must withdraw to their isolated dwellings, shortly before my arrival, 12 of

the 14 synagogues of the Jews were torn down, and all their beautiful houses


The Jews did not improve until the establishment of the French Protectorate

in 1912, when they were given equality and religious autonomy. However,

during World War II, when France was ruled by the anti-Semitic Vichy

government, King Muhammed V prevented the deportation of Jews from Morocco.

In 1922, the government of Yemen reintroduced an ancient Islamic law that

decreed that Jewish orphans under age 12 were to be forcibly converted to


In 1947, after the partition vote, Muslim rioters, joined by the local police

force, engaged in a bloody pogrom in Aden that killed 82 Jews and destroyed

hundreds of Jewish homes. Aden's Jewish community was economically paralyzed,

as most of the Jewish stores and businesses were destroyed. Early in 1948,

looting occurred after six Jews were falsely accused of the ritual murder of

two Arab girls. (Howard Sachar, A History of Israel).

By 1948 there were some 270,000 Jews in Morocco. In an atmosphere of

uncertainty and grinding poverty, many Jews elected to leave for Israel,

France, the United States, and Canada.

Finally, nearly 50,000 traditionally religious Yemeni Jews, who had never

seen a plane, were airlifted to Israel in 1949 and in 1950 in Operation

"Magic Carpet.". Since the Book of Isaiah promised, "They shall mount up with

wings, as eagles". The Jewish community bordered "The Eagles" contentedly; to

the pilots consternation some of them lit a bon fire aboard, to cook there



The Jewish community of present-day Morocco dates back more than 2,000 years.

There were Jews living there, before it became a Roman province. in 1032 AD,

6000 Jews were murdered. Indeed the greatest persecution by the Arabs towards

the Jews was in Fez, Morocco, nothing was worse than the slaughter of 120,000

Jews in 1146 and before that In 1160 Maimonides in his Epistle concerning

apostasy writes his fellow Jews: "Now we are asked to render the active

homage to heathenism but only to recite an empty formula which the Moslems

themselves knew we utter insincerely in order to circumvent the bigot ...

indeed, any Jew who, after uttering the Muslim formula, wishes to observe the

whole 613 precepts in the privacy of his home, may do so without hindrance.

Nevertheless, if, even under circumstances, a Jew surrenders his life for the

sanctification of the name of God before men, he has done nobly and his

reward is great before the Lord. But if a man asked me, "shall I be slain or

utter the formula of Islam?" I answer, "utter the formula and live ... "". In

1391 a wave of Jewish refugees expelled from Spain brought new life to the

community, as did new arrivals from Spain and Portugal in 1492 and 1497. From

1438, the Jews of Fez were forced to live in special quarters called mellahs,

a name derived from the Arabic word for salt because the Jews in Morocco were

forced to carry out the job of salting the heads of executed prisoners prior

to their public display.

Chouraqui sums it up when he wrote: "such restriction and humiliation as to

exceed anything in Europe". Charles de Foucauld in 1883 who was not generally

sympathetic to Jews writes of the Jews: "They are the most unfortunate of

men, every Jew belongs body and soul to his seigneur, the sid[Arab master]".

Similarly, in 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving

only 11 alive, after a Jewish deputy vizier treated a Muslim woman in "an

offensive manner." The killings touched off a wave of similar massacres

throughout Morocco.


In June 1948, bloody riots in Oujda and Djerada killed 44 Jews and wounded

scores more. That same year, an unofficial economic boycott was instigated

against Moroccan Jews.

In 1956, Morocco declared its independence, and Jewish emigration to Israel

was suspended. In 1963, emigration resumed, allowing more than 100,000

Moroccan Jews to reach Israel.

In 1965, Moroccan writer Said Ghallab described the attitude of his fellow

Muslims toward their Jewish neighbors:

The worst insult that a Moroccan could possibly offer was to treat someone as

a Jew....My childhood friends have remained anti-Jewish. They hide their

virulent anti-Semitism by contending that the State of Israel was the

creature of Western imperialism....A whole Hitlerite myth is being cultivated

among the populace. The massacres of the Jews by Hitler are exalted

ecstatically. It is even credited that Hitler is not dead, but alive and

well, and his arrival is awaited to deliver the Arabs from Israel. (Said

Ghallab, "Les Juifs sont en enfer," in Les Temps Modernes, (April 1965), pp.

2247-2251. ).


The first documented evidence of Jews in this area dates back to 200 A.D and

demonstrates the existence of a community in Latin Carthage under Roman rule.

Latin Carthage contained a significant Jewish presence, and several sages

mentioned in the Talmud lived in this area from the 2nd to the 4th centuries.

During the Byzantine period, the condition of the community took a turn for

the worse. An edict issued by Justinian in 535 excluded Jews from public

office, prohibited Jewish practice, and resulted in the transformation of

synagogues into churches. Many fled to the Berber communities in the

mountains and in the desert.

After the Arab conquest of Tunisia in the 7th century, Jews lived under

satisfactory conditions, despite discriminatory measures such as a poll tax.

>From 7th century Arab conquest down through the Almahdiyeen atrocities,

Tunisia fared little better than its neighbors. The complete expulsion of

Jews from Kairouan near Tunis occurred after years of hardship, in the 13

century when Kairouan was anointed as a holy city of Islam.

In the 16th century, the "hated and despised" Jews of Tunis were periodically

attacked by violence and they were subjected to "vehement anti-Jewish policy"

during the various political struggles of the period. In 1869 Muslims

butchered many Jews in the defenseless ghetto.

Conditions worsened during the Spanish invasions of 1535-1574, resulting in

the flight of Jews from the coastal areas. The situation of the community

improved once more under Ottoman rule.

During this period, the community also split due to strong cultural

differences between the Touransa (native Tunisians) and the Grana (those

adhering to Spanish or Italian customs).

Improvements in the condition of the community occurred during the reign of

Ahmed Bey, which began in 1837. He and his successors implemented liberal

legislation, and a large number of Jews rose to positions of political power

during this reign.

Under French rule, Jews were gradually emancipated. However, beginning in

November 1940, when the country was ruled by the Vichy authorities, Jews were

subject to anti-Semitic laws. From November 1942 until May 1943, the country

was occupied by German forces. During that time, the condition of the Jews

deteriorated further, and many were deported to labor camps and had their

property seized.

Jews suffered once more in 1956, when the country achieved independence. The

rabbinical tribunal was abolished in 1957, and a year later, Jewish community

councils were dissolved. In addition, the Jewish quarter of Tunis was

destroyed by the government. Anti-Jewish rioting followed the outbreak of the

Six-Day War; Muslims burned down the Great Synagogue of Tunis. While the

community was compensated for the damage, these events increased the steady

stream of emigration.


The Jewish community of Libya traces its origin back to the 3rd century B.C

Under Roman rule, Jews prospered.

In 73 A.D, a zealot from Israel, Jonathan the Weaver, incited the poor of the

community in Cyrene to revolt. The Romans reacted with swift vengeance,

murdering him and his followers and executing other wealthy Jews in the

community. This revolt foreshadowed that of 115 A.D, which broke out not only

in Cyrene, but in Egypt and Cyprus as well.

In 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews.

With the Italian occupation of Libya in 1911, the situation remained good and

the Jews made great strides in education. At that time, there were about

21,000 Jews in the country, the majority in Tripoli. In the late 1930s,

Fascist anti-Jewish laws were gradually enforced, and Jews were subject to

terrible repression. Still, by 1941, the Jews accounted for a quarter of the

population of Tripoli and maintained 44 synagogues. In 1942 the Germans

occupied the Jewish quarter of Benghazi, plundered shops, and deported more

than 2,000 Jews across the desert, where more than one-fifth of them

perished. Many Jews from Tripoli were also sent to forced labor camps.

Conditions did not greatly improve following the liberation. During the

British occupation, there was a series of pogroms, the worst of which, in

1945, resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Jews in Tripoli and other towns

and the destruction of five synagogues.

The establishment of the State of Israel, led many Jews to leave the country.

A savage pogrom in Tripoli on November 5, 1945 were more than 140 Jews were

massacred and almost every synagogue looted. (Howard Sachar, A History of


In June 1948, rioters murdered another 12 Jews and destroyed 280 Jewish

homes. Thousands of Jews fled the country after Libya was granted

independence and membership in the Arab League in 1951. (Norman Stillman, The

Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times).

After the Six-Day War, the Jewish population of 7,000 was again subjected to

pogroms in which 18 were killed, and many more injured, sparking a near-total

exodus that left fewer than 100 Jews in Libya. When Col. Qaddafi came to

power in 1969, all Jewish property was confiscated and all debts to Jews

cancelled. Today, no Jews are believed to live in Libya.

Although emigration was illegal, more than 3,000 Jews succeeded to leave to

Israel. When the British legalized emigration in 1949, more than 30,000 Jews

fled Libya. At the time of Colonel Qaddafi's coup in 1969, some 500 Jews

remained in Libya. Qaddafi subsequently confiscated all Jewish property and

cancelled all debts owed to Jews. By 1974 there were no more than 20 Jews,

and it is believed that the Jewish presence has passed out of existence.


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