Thursday, February 25, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
Israeli Jews with roots in Arab countries are up in arms that a six-part TV documentary series, 'Lebanon', did not mention the tragedy of the Lebanese Jewish community.
The series 'Lebanon' aired on Channel 11 recently. Activist Dana Avrish took to Facebook to register her outrage. She had devoted her career to raising awareness of the history and heritage of Jews from Arab countries, but Lebanese Jewry had been erased from the series. 'Without our past, there is no present and no future,' she said. She called for individuals to join her in fighting such denial.Dana Avrish
Particularly galling for academic and activist Dr Edy Cohen was that 11 Jewish civilians abducted and murdered by an organisation linked to Hezbollah, the Organisation of the Oppressed, during the 1980s, were not mentioned. Among them was his own father, Haim Hallala Cohen. Dr Cohen complained in his Facebook video that Israeli TV dealt with Christians, Shi'as, Palestinians, even Ashkenazim and Ethoipians, but there was not a single sentence about oppressed Jews in Arab countries.
The abductions included three members of the Beniste family, a father and two sons. The tragedy was all the more shocking given that 93 Jews remained in the country. Some bodies were never found.
These Jews will be the subject of a new book being written in French, 'Les derniers juifs du Liban' by the historian of Lebanese Jewry, Nagi Gergi Zeidan.
Here are the names and ages of the 11 abductees and the presumed dates of their deaths:
1984: Raoul (son of Sobhi) Mizrahi, 52
1984, Selim Mourad Jamous, 54
1985: Haim Hallal Cohen, 39
1985: Dr Elie Hallac, 52
1985: Elie Youssef Srour, 68
1987: Isaac Sasson, 65
1986: Isaac Tarrab, 70
1987: Yehuda Beniste, 70
1987: Ibrahim Beniste, 39
1986: Youssef Beniste, 33
1986: Henri Mann, 40
Sunday, February 21, 2021
For eight years in the 16th century, the Moroccan town of Fez had a Hebrew printing press until it was forced to close down due to a Spanish prohibition on the sale of paper. There would not be another until the late 19th century. Marvin J Heller writes in Sephardic Horizons (Winter 2021):
Jewish houses in Fez, 1932
Jewish residence and Jewish history in Fez, in northern Morocco, is both continuous and lengthy. Jewish settlement dates to the early ninth century, continuing to the present day. Although not always positive, since there were periods of extreme oppression, Jewish residence was, more often than not, beneficial to Jews.
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
One of the most promising initatives to come out of the Abraham Accords has been the founding of Sharaka, the Gulf-Israel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.
Sharaka is Arabic for 'partnership'. Their self-declared mission is 'to build bonds between young Israeli and Gulf leaders in order to strengthen peace, trust and cooperation between our societies'.
The Israelis in the Sharaka team include members with roots in Arab countries, such as Amit Deri, Ben-Dror Yemini and Ofir Ohayon. In December Sharaka organised a group visit of young Arabs to Israel.
This video shows members of the delegation wiping away tears while being shown around the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.
Majid Al-Sarrah from the UAE encouraged all people to “see the reality of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem and promised, “We will spread the knowledge about the Holocaust. We will raise peace and love, say never again to anti-Semitism, hate and discrimination. We are brothers and sisters. We will stand together, and together, we will build a world free of anti-Semitism and hate.”
Mashael Al-Shemeri from Bahrain said, “I would like to say to all Jews and the people of Israel: You are not alone anymore.” Najat Al-Saeed from Saudi Arabia added, “We must educate young generations about the full horrors of the Holocaust, including by ensuring that the Holocaust is taught in schools in the Abraham Accords countries and that special envoys are appointed for preserving Holocaust remembrance.”
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
In contrast to the picture of age-old harmony projected by today's regime in Morocco, western newspapers in the 19th century describe how Jews were persecuted by their Muslim neighbours in Morocco. The inestimable blog Elder of Ziyon has unearthed two newspaper articles:
"Here is an account of Jews in Fez, Morocco, part of a longer article about Morocco that was published in the (Chicago) Inter Ocean, November 4, 1894. Although the article seems slightly exaggerated (Jews weren't forced to wear peyos, and I am skeptical that there was a death penalty for a Jew being on a street with a mosque), the article describes how the Jews are persecuted by their Muslim neighbors. It also has a fair amount of the typical unconscious antisemitism that is often seen in 19th century newspaper articles."
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Sunday, February 14, 2021
The Algerian war of independence was a brutal six-year conflict between the French army, local paramilitaries and the FLN independence fighters. It ended in the eviction of 800,000 pieds noirs (white settlers), and the repatriation of some 130,000 Jews to France. The Algerian war has long been a sore point, eliciting calls for an apology from France for torture ; president Macron has sought to heal the wounds by appointing the Algerian-born Jewish historian Benjamin Stora to write a report. But Stora's report has attracted criticism from left and right. (with thanks: Jean-Loup, Imre)Benjamin Stora
The New York Times reports: