Monday, June 21, 2021
Sunday, June 20, 2021
In honour of United Nations World Refugee Day today, Israel and Jewish organizations remembered the often forgotten story of the nearly one million Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Arab and Muslim countries over the past century. The Algemeiner reports:
In a bid to 'balance' its peace deal with Israel, Morocco has permitted Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh to visit the country and meet Morocco’s main opposition, the Islamist PJD party. Al Arabiya reports (with thanks: Michelle)
Ismail Haniyeh arriving in Morocco
Friday, June 18, 2021
Exclusive to Point of No Return
An Israeli rabbi is claiming to be Chief Rabbi of a non-existent community and is demanding $10 million to build a mega-synagogue for them.
Israeli Rabbi Daniel Edri, who headed the Haifa Beth Din and has no Kurdish roots, has produced a letter from the Kurdish Ministry of Religious Affairs nominating him as the Chief Rabbi of Kurdistan. But the Ministry itself has claimed that the letter is a forgery.
The forged letter nominating Rabbi Edri as Chief Rabbi of Kurdistan
This month, the rabbi claims to have been in touch with an old Jew in Baghdad called Daoud Benattar who told him that there were ''close to 100 Jews in Baghdad'. Benattar is not known to anyone who is familiar with the few Jews still in Iraq. According to Edwin Shuker, who visits Iraq regularly, there are only four Jews still living there.
Likewise, there are no Jews in Kurdistan, although some Kurds claim distant Jewish ancestry. The entire community - some 18,000 Jews - was airlifted to Israel in 1950.
A non-Jew called Sherzad Mahmoud Mansani was exposed as an imposter after the Kurdistan Regional government sacked him as head of the Directorate of Jewish Affairs and exiled him. Mamsani's objective was to raise funds from the Jewish diaspora in order to 'rebuild' the Kurdish Jewish community.
Rabbi Edri was first introduced to Sherzad Mamsani in 2017 and has admitted knowing that he was not a Jew. He is now believed to be working with one of Sherzad's acolytes, Ranjar Cohen. Rabbi Edri has been quoted as saying, 'Sherzad is out of Kurdistan so we are going ahead without him.'
Despite his name, Cohen is not a Jew either. After failing to register a synagogue with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ranjar Cohen registered a non-profit humanitarian organisation named Aramaic Organisation which he promoted as a Jewish congregation. After the imposters were denied entry to the shrine of the Prophet Nahum, they organized a Hanucah ceremony at a hotel instead.
Rabbi Daniel Edri wearing traditional Kurdish headdress
Rabbi Edri 'supervised' the Hanucah menorah lighting ceremony in December 2020. Of the two founders of the Aramaic Organisation one is now in jail, convicted of murder.
It is suspicious that in order to achieve his objective of reviving the Kurdish Jewish community, Rabbi Edri seems to have avoided working with the late Dr Moti Zaken, the leading authority on Jews of Kurdistan, who spoke out against any abuses. Rabbi Edri has preferred to use his own dubious Kurdish contacts. In order to minister to the phantom community he purportedly heads, Rabbi Edri would have to register Muslims as Jews.
It appears that the death of Dr Zaken may have left a vacuum which imposters and fraudsters can freely fill.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Khaled Diab is an Egyptian journalist who has always had an interest in Jews from Arab countries. In fact he was one of the first to write about them and celebrate their contribution to Arab societies. But as this New Lines Magazine article demonstrates, he sees them as 'Arab' Jews 'in love ' with Arab culture and in some cases Islam. (Even Disraeil is a 'Mosaic Arab'). Here he writes about Sasson Somekh, who called himself the last Arab Jew. But Somekh also saw himself as an Israeli patriot and repudiated those young Mizrahim who claimed a political 'Arab' identity without having themselves been immersed in Arab culture and language.
The late professor Sasson Somekh
Despite the hatred and animosity created by the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the rampant scapegoating of local Jews that occurred across the Arab world, some Arab Jews continued to feel and express pride in their heritage and act as unofficial ambassadors between two worlds at war.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
A new book by Professor Efraim Lev focuses on 600 Jewish doctors who lived in Islamic Spain in the Middle Ages. Review in the Jerusalem Post by Kenneth Collins: (with thanks: Jeremy)
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Monday, June 14, 2021
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Last week was the 73rd anniversary of the brutal pogrom of Oujda and Jerrada, in Morocco. Yet there is widespread ignorance of this event, and no commemoration or memorial of it in Israel. Moreshet Marocco, reprinting an account first published in 2012, harks back to those fateful days:
This map shows Oujda, on the border with Algeria It was exactly 64 years ago, on Monday, [June 7, 1948] at 9:30 a.m., in the coal market in the city of Ujda, that a minor incident of attacking a Jew in broad daylight caused a loud quarrel and a great brawl between Muslims and Jews
Friday, June 11, 2021
According to Arutz Sheva, the Biden administration has called for the release of Levi Salem Musa Marhabi, who is still in jail in Yemen for allegedly helping to 'smuggle' out a Torah scroll. The scroll accompanied the last party of Jews to be airlifted out of Yemen in 2016. The former 'antisemitism Tsar' Elan Carr has drawn atention to Marhabi's case and the American Sephardi Federation has been running a campaign for Marhabi's release. There are six Jews still in Yemen, or fewer.
Benjamin Netanyahu poses with the Torah scroll which Marhabi is accused of helping to smuggle out to Israel
US State Department spokesman Ned Price has announced that the Biden Administration is calling for the release of Levi Marhabi, a young Yemeni Jew accused of helping Jews who immigrated to Israel take an ancient Torah scroll from Yemen with them.
For about four years, Levi Marhabi has been imprisoned in Yemen. The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels say the Torah Scroll as a 'stolen national treasure.'
Among the detainees was Rabbi Yahya ben Yosef, who was arrested by the Houthi rebels on suspicion of aiding in the smuggling of a Torah scroll.
Three workers at the Sanaa airport were also arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting smuggling. But in the end everyone was released except Levi Marhabi, who remains imprisoned until this day.
A State Department spokesman said the US had repeatedly raised Marhabi's plight in the UN Security Council. The representative also confirmed the statement issued by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in November 2020, calling on Houthis to "respect religious freedom, stop oppressing the Yemenite Jewish population and immediately release Levi Marhabi."
American Sephardi Federation (ASF) executive director Jason Guberman said the US should be more aggressive on the issue. "The State Department has called for the release of Marhabi, but it is not enough" Guberman said.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Blogger Elder of Ziyon has been busy researching the plight of the Jews of Silwan (Shiloah), who were forced out by violence from their homes in the 1930s. Whereas the media have rewritten history to make out that 'Jewish settlers' are harassing Palestinians out of their homes, the truth is the reverse. A recntly-discovered letter testifies to the fact that the Jewish inhabitants were frequently attacked and the British could no longer protect them. They evacuated the Jews, although they expected them to return shortly. See original post:Buried in a New York Times article about the claims of both Jews and Arabs to houses in Silwan we see this: In the late 1930s, the site was abandoned. Documents show the British authorities, which then ruled Palestine, evacuated the Jewish residents, fearing they were vulnerable to an Arab insurrection. After the British left and Jordan occupied the West Bank in 1948, Palestinian families moved onto the uninhabited plot. That is a sanitized way of saying that the Jews were constantly attacked by Arabs in Silwan. Here is the Palestine Post article about their evacuation, from August 15, 1938: More about Silwan
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
Monday, June 07, 2021
Photo taken in 2019 of the remains of a synagogue in Mosul
The death of the Jewish doctor Thafer Eliyahu, leaving just three Jews in Iraq, has prompted the BBC 's Lizzy Porter to file a report on the radio programme 'From our Own Correspondent' (segment begins at 11:38).
In a fairly balanced piece, Porter surveys the rubbish-strewn Baghdad Jewish cemetery and asks what will become of the millennia-old Jewish heritage in Iraq now that Eliyahu and his predecessor Sitt Marcelle, who administered the community assets and records, have departed this world. 'They don't want to hear about us,' despairs Edwin Shuker of the Iraqi authorities. Much of Iraq's Jewish heritage has been left to crumble away.
No mention of 'apartheid' or 'ethnic cleansing' here. But it is left to the Muslim historian of Mosul in the north, Mosul Eye blogger Omar Mohammed, to offer what the Iraqi government has never done to its Jews: an apology. He has interviewed elderly survivors of what he calls 'the deportation' - the exodus of 17,000 Jews from the north of Iraq in 1950 - in an effort to document their memories of Mosul before it's too late. Seemingly speaking for these Jews, Mohammed says, 'We can forgive, but we must never forget.'
Sunday, June 06, 2021
This is a fascinating document, unearthed by Lhaj Mohamed Nacik and uploaded to the Academia website. Written in 1968 in Casablanca by the British Consul, Mr P. M. Johnston, the report focuses on the history of Jews in Morocco, their origin, relationship with the Muslim majority, emigration from Morocco and their future in the country after The Six-Day War. The author argues that throughout Moroccan history, Jews have been a minority whose status has been both privileged and precarious.
Friday, June 04, 2021
Mordechai Zaken z"l
Thursday, June 03, 2021
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
There are those who would dismantle coexistence and collaboration between Jews and Arabs. Israel needs to show the way forward and be a beacon of light in a region where darkness has so often ruled. David A Dangoor writes in the Jerusalem Post:David Dangoor
Tuesday, June 01, 2021
The Farhud massacre of Jews in Iraq began 80 years ago to the day. Matthias Kuntzel, German political scientist, writes in MENA Watch, that it would not have happened without German support.