Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's happening with the Arabs - and the Jews?

King Hamad of Bahrain

Puzzled about what exactly is going on in each Arab country? Arutz Sheva has published this useful two-part review concerning both Arabs and Jews. Here are those countries which have attracted less media coverage:

MOROCCO
A video has been distributed calling for a protest to be held on Feb. 20 to demand "equality, social justice, employment, housing, study grants and higher salaries," as well as "change, political reforms, the resignation of the Government and the dissolution of Parliament." Analysts do not expect the campaign to succeed. Some have said that the Moroccan government may face unrest in the west, thanks to Algerian instigators.

Before the founding of Israel in 1948, there were over 250,000 Jews in the country, but only 3,000 - 7,000 remain today, mostly in Casablanca. In June 1948, 44 Jews were killed in anti-Semitic riots, and large-scale emigration to Israel began. Between 1961 and 1964, more than 80,000 Moroccan Jews emigrated to Israel; by 1967, only 60,000 Jews remained, and four years later, this number was 35,000. Today, the State of Israel is home to nearly 1,000,000 Jews of Moroccan descent, around 15% of the nation's total population.


SYRIA
In an attempt to head off protests, the Assad government withdrew a plan to remove some subsidies. President Bashar Assad gave a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he said he to hold local elections, pass a new media law, and give more power to private organizations. A planned "Day of Rage" that was organized via Facebook for February 5 failed to materialize.

Large Jewish communities existed in Aleppo, Damascus, and Qamishli for centuries. About 100 years ago, a large percentage of Syrian Jews emigrated to the U.S., Central and South America and Israel. Anti-Jewish feeling reached a climax in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and some 5,000 Jews left in the 1940's for what became Israel. The Aleppo pogrom of December 1947, a pogrom in Aleppo – the third in 100 years - left many dead, hundreds wounded, and the community devastated. Another pogrom in Damascus in 1949 left 12 Jews dead. In 1992, the few thousand remaining Jews were permitted to leave Syria, as long as they did not head for Israel. The few remaining Jews in Syria live in Damascus.


YEMEN
Tuesday marks four straight days of clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. At least three people were injured on Tuesday as 3,000 activists attempted to march on the presidential palace. They are demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. Protests have become increasingly violent. Besides poverty and unemployment, the Saleh government is grappling a secessionist movement in the south, rebellion in the north, and a regrouping of Al Qaeda on its soil.

Between June 1949 and September 1950, 49,000 Yemenite Jews - the overwhelming majority of the country's Jewish population - was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. Only a few dozen mostly elderly Jews remain in Yemen.

Amidst the Arab demands for the restitution of Arab refugees from the 1948 war, it is largely forgotten that around that time, more than 870,000 Jews lived in the various Arab countries. In many cases, they were persecuted politically and physically, and their property was confiscated; some 600,000 Jews found refuge in the State of Israel. Their material claims for their lost assets have never been seriously considered.

Part 1

Part 11

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