According to this article from The Scribe, there was once an ancient community of 200 Jews living in Kuwait until the 1920s. The article claims that there is no evidence that the Jews were kicked out of Kuwait. They sought a better life in King Faisal's Iraq. Clearly, however, the Kuwaiti establishment disapproved of their trade in alcohol. Had they stayed, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1920 would have probably made their lives untenable.
Most of the Jews who lived in Kuwait came originally from Iraq after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 A.D.
In 1776 when Sadeq Khan captured Basra, many of the inhabitants left the country and among them were the Jews who went to Kuwait. With the Jews' efforts, the country flourished with its buildings and trades. Around 1860, their number increased and their trade flourished. The Jews had a market called "The Jews' market, ", next to the Mosque.
It was known that the Jews used to make alcohol and sell it to the public.
The Jews were known to be careful traders. They were mostly wholesalers and worked with India - Baghdad and Aleppo. They even exported to Europe and China.
There were about 80 Jewish families in Kuwait living in one district where the Bank of Trade is now.
The Jews used to wear long gowns (Zboun) and a Fez which made them look different from the others. Some used to wear European suits, but they wore a Fez on their heads. They had their own synagogue with their Sefer Torah. The synagogue had a separate area for the women.
Saturday was a sacred day. Jews did not work on that day. They also had their own cemetery, which shows that they lived there for a long time.
Kuwait's population is now 35,000 and most of them are Arab Muslims. Before 1914 there were about 200 Jews. Most of them went back to Baghdad and a few went to India.
There were two wealthy Jews in Kuwait but the rest were middle class, being jewellers or textile merchants. Among the wealthy Jews were Saleh Mahlab who owned the first ice factory in 1912 and Gurgi Sasson and Menashi Eliahou who were traders and financiers.
When Sheikh Salem al Mubarak came to power in February 1917 - he was the 9th ruler - he wanted to stop the Jews from dealing in spirits. He called them and warned them. There is no evidence that they were kicked out of Kuwait. The truth is that they went back to Iraq when King Faisal lst came to rule Iraq.
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