Nuri al-Said and his wife (far left). Their son Sabah wearing evening suit is seated. (Photo: Iraq the lasting love blog)
From the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction department: the grandson of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Said, who did more to drive out Iraq's Jewish community in the 1950s than anyone else, became an Israeli kibbutznik (according to an unconfirmed report, he later trained to be a combat pilot and fought in the Six-Day War) ! This piece in Time magazine dates back to 1958, the year when al-Said and the royal family were slaughtered in a bloody coup (with thanks: Niran):
Among Arab leaders, Iraq's late Nuri asSaid probably led all the rest in the bitterness of his public excoriations of Israel. But fate appears to have played a last weird trick on the murdered Iraqi strongman. Out of Jerusalem last week came a strange story: Nuri Pasha's only survivor may be a 16-year-old Jewish boy (he would now be 68 - ed) now living in an Israeli border kibbutz.
The boy's mother, Nadia Maslia, told Israeli newsmen that she met Nuri's only son, Sabah, in the early '30s when her family of wealthy Jewish bankers in Baghdad often did business with the Pasha. Though Sabah, an Iraqi air force officer, was already married to an Egyptian heiress, he fell in love with Nadia and kept trysts with her in London and Lebanon. Finally he asked her to become, as Mohammedan custom allows, his second wife. They were married at Mosul in 1939, lived in Nuri's household in Baghdad, and fled with the rest of Nuri's family to Palestine when a German-backed army coup momentarily toppled his government during World War II. On their return to Baghdad, their son Ahlam was born in 1942. Though at first opposed to the marriage, Nuri Pasha used to dandle little Ahlam on his knee, kept his picture on his desk.
After World War II anti-Jewish sentiment grew in Baghdad, and Sabah's Egyptian wife schemed successfully to get Nadia out of the house. In 1946 Nadia took her son and moved to the Jewish part of Palestine, which became Israel two years later. In Tel Aviv, where she bought a hotel and other property and sent Ahlam to a Jewish school, Nadia concealed her family connections even from her son until last week. Nuri's grandson, by Judaic law a Jew because his mother is Jewish, is due to be conscripted into the Israeli army within the next two years. He may well be Nuri Pasha's only descendant left on earth. According to Baghdad reports, all members of Nuri's family, including Sabah, his Egyptian wife and their two children*, were slaughtered in last month's bloody rising.
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*Sabah's artist son Issam survived until the age of 50