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This and other evidence leads to the conclusion that while the Iraqi government sought to present the explusion of Jews as a crowd-driven retaliatory act for the exodus of the Arab refugees from Palestine, it in fact had a full-fledged plan in place before the Arab refugee problem even came into existence. This interpretation resolves a number of historical questions. It explains the origins of the otherwise mysterious legislation in depriving Jews of their Iraqi nationality.

For example, Shlomo Hillel cannot understand how this complete reversal of the Iraqi attitudes happened, and suggests that Nuri Sa'id did not really intend immediately to apply the law. The Iraqi plan of expulsion also explains the bombing of the Mas'uda Shem Tob Synagogue in Baghdad on January 14, , as Jews were registering there to emigrate to Israel. Zionists have been accused of causing the violence in the hopes of spurring the Jews to leave Iraq, an accusation whose truth so eminent an authority as Elie Kedourie has said "must remain an open question.


  • Between State and Synagogue (Cambridge Middle East Studies, 42).
  • Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries;
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That an Iraqi army officer arrested for throwing the bomb belonged to the opposition Istiqlal Party points to that faction's responsibility. Yemeni persecution of Jews prompted a trickle of Jewish emigration to Palestine from the third quarter of the nineteenth century on. Heykal Pasha's speech merely added momentum to the longstanding Yemeni policy of discrimination against and degradation of Jews, based on a particularly pedantic interpretation of the Islamic law.

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The Jews of Yemen, relying on their own means, suffering losses of life and deprivations, traversed the desert to Aden by foot and on donkeys. There, the Jewish Agency lodged them in camps and eventually boarded them onto planes that took them to Israel.

In this way, some 50, Yemeni Jews reached Israel during the two-year period. We lack information about the Yemeni government's decision-making process. But this case provides the clearest example of Jews' being persecuted and expelled for reasons having to do with Islamic law. Attacks on Jewish quarters in Tripoli and other cities occurred in , leading to a death toll the British put at Jews.

Introduction

Their departure turned into a mass exodus as soon as Israel gained independence and the gates opened to Libyan Jewry. As in Iraq, internal policy appears to be the reason both for the Jews' expulsion and for later rhetoric inviting them back. In Syria, too, the majority of Jews departed before independence in , and long before Heykal Pasha's statement and the establishment of Israel.

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As in Yemen and Libya, crude pressure on the Jews of Syria-such as the pogrom in Aleppo and the rape and murder of four Jewish girls who allegedly tried to smuggle themselves out of Syria-caused a substantial emigration. While Syria is distinguished from other Arab countries by the fact that its legislation does not manifest discrimination against Jews, Heykal Pasha's policy was indeed applied there, too. The government seized control of Jewish property in Syria on the basis of emergency legislation and gave it to Arab refugees.

A diplomat at the French embassy in Damascus intervened with the Syrian authorities about this school and was told that the Syrian Jews had to provide room for the Arab refugees, the latter having been expelled by their Palestinian co-religionists. In some cases, the execution of the Arab plan of expulsion extended over a period much longer than that of the military hostilities.

In Egypt, the expulsion reached its climax only after the overthrow of the monarchy by disgruntled army officers back from the Palestinian battlefield. In Algeria, which did not attain independence until , the expulsion took place later yet. Jews in Egypt faced acute problems in the s but these did not set their mass departure in motion. Rioting against Jews occurred in November, then resumed in June-November , 26 the latter time inspired by the war with Israel.

An amendment to the Egyptian Companies Law dated July 29, , required that 40 percent of a company's directors and 75 percent of its employees be Egyptian nationals, causing the dismissal and livelihood of many Jews, 85 percent of whom did not possess Egyptian nationality. This testimony rather directly refutes the fine rhetoric of Heykal Pasha about Jews' enjoying "all rights of citizenship. Cairo was slow in carrying out the plan proclaimed by its own diplomat, Heykal Pasha; only during and after the Suez Crisis of did Egyptian Jews leave in substantial numbers.

The amendment to the Nationality Law of defined the term Zionism as "not a religion but the spiritual and material bond between those defined as Zionists and Israel.

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In Algeria, no significant Jewish emigration occurred until the summer of , and then nearly the entire population was gone within the year. The Algerian Nationality Code of made this clear by granting Algerian nationality as a right only to those inhabitants whose fathers and paternal grandfathers had Muslim personal status in Algeria.

No Jews lived in Transjordan in when it became an independent state , as a result of Winston Churchill's decision in favor of "preserving [the] Arab character" of Transjordan 35 and the resulting British policy forbidding Jews from settling there. Legislation passed in declared that only non-Jews coming from the former British Mandate of Palestine were entitled to Jordanian citizenship.

Further, it actively discriminated against Lebanese and Syrian Jews. A strange silence prevails over the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries.

Israel, the European Left and the Complexity of the Middle East

Out of fifteen books mainly autobiographies written by Iraqi politicians and other public figures, only two make any reference to the farhud, 38 the Iraqi pogrom of that first shook feelings among the Jews for the land of their very ancient residence and was the first step in their leaving the country. In his memoirs, Tawfiq as-Suwaydi, head of the Iraqi government and the man with whom the agreement to transport Jews from Baghdad to Israel by air was reached, "does not recall, if only by way of a mere hint, the actual departure of the Jewish communities from his country.

On the Israeli side, the establishment did little to break the silence about the dire circumstances of the Jewish exodus from Arab countries. Palestinians are the only Arabs vocally to denounce the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. This began in January with a telegram from 'Aarif to the Arab Legue after he failed in his efforts to persuade Nuri to stop the exit of Jews from Iraq.

Between State and Synagogue : The Secularization of Contemporary Israel

Nabil Hga'th, Yasir Arafat's advisor, twenty years ago drew attention to the invitation that the Sudan and Libya sent to "their" Jews to return, and called upon the Arab states to legislate a kind of "Law of Return" for Jews of Arab origins. Remarkably, some Palestinians have come to see Jewish sovereignty in Israel in terms of a population exchange, and as the necessary price to be paid for the Arab expulsions.

The Arab states had much to do with this, for they expelled the Jews "in a most ugly fashion, and after confiscating their possessions or taking control thereof at the lowest price. In brief, 'Arif, Sirtawi, and Jiryis recognize that the expulsion of a million Jews from the Arab countries renders the return of Arab refugees infeasible.

This realization is compounded by the fact that almost half a century has elapsed since the beginning of the refugee problem, both Arab and Jewish, within the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those individuals to be involved in any future rehabilitation program will mostly be heirs, and even grandchildren, of the original refugees.


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