Jews in Arab Occupied Lands

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



The Exodus from Egypt, the liberation of the Children of Israel from slavery, is a universal human theme. The Exodus is applicable to all who came from slavery to freedom. The first Exodus was of course not the only one. Since then the Children of Israel have been enslaved many times so that the very brutes who forced us to abandon our homes again and again blamed the victims and spoke of “the wandering Jew”, a myth of their own creation.

Because we had no home for nearly two thousand years, Israel made itself independent of its Arab-British oppressors in 1948. In that year, another great Jewish Exodus occurred, leading to a large increase in the population of Israel and the decimation of some of the oldest Jewish communities on earth.

Jews have lived in the countries now occupied by Arabs since the destruction of the first Temple in 586 B.C.E. Yet, the descendants of these original inhabitants of so many Middle Eastern lands were driven out of their ancestral homes by the religious bigotry and racial animosity of the Arab invaders.

In 1945 there were more than 900,000 Jews living in Arabic speaking countries. Today, there are less than 8,000. Some Arab states like Libya are completely judenrein, i.e., cleansed of Jews, as the Arabs' best friend, Hitler, liked to say.

About 600,000 of these Jews were absorbed by Israel. Another 300,000 went to Europe, America or Australia. Evidently, then, the refugee problem in the Middle East consists of the failure of the Arab states to compensate these 900,000 for the property they were forced to leave behind.

Examples are Iraq, which once had a Jewish population of 90,000 and now only has les than one hundred Jews left. A good number of Jews left Egypt in 1948. Egypt is the country where Yasser Arafat was born (Arafat is an Egyptian. His real name is Husseinei). There were 75,000 Jews in Egypt in 1948. Yet, in connection with the Egyptian aggression of 1957, more than 22,200 Jews were forced to leave Egypt. Today, the Jewish community in Egypt amounts to only 200. These Jews left assets of $2.5 billion, for which they should now be compensated.

There are no Jews in Algeria today. That country is also Judenrein. In 1948 there were 130,000 Jews in Algeria. In Morocco, which was the home of 286,000 Jews before 1948, there are today only 5,800 Jews. Similar decimation occurred in Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and other Arab states. The governments of the these countries forcibly expelled all Jews, who then increased the Israeli population. From the Arab point of view that was indeed as stupid a policy as the Arab incitement of the Russian population against the Jews in that country. That anti-Jewish campaign by the Arab agitators led to the arrival in Israel of over a million Russian Jews. Many of the Jews were engineers and scientists of the first order. This helped Israel a great deal. Now the Arabs are making life miserable for the Jews of France and Belgium. There are over 600,000 Jews in France. If the Arabs keep up their attacks on these European Jews then Israel will again absorb a large contingent of Jews forced to flee France (and Belgium).

The Jewish exodus from the Arab lands was dramatic. Many Jews fled on foot while others were rescued by “Operation Magic Carpet.” This consisted of bringing 45,000 Yemeni Jews to Israel by plane.

It is evident, therefore, that the “refugee problem” in Israel consists of the failure of the Arabs to pay compensation to the one million Jews who were driven out of their homelands by the Arab hate mongers.

The Arabs say that Israel must accept one million so-called Arab “refugees”. The purpose of that argument is of course the destruction of Israel. Unable to defeat the Jews on the battlefield, the Arab cowards want to now destroy Israel by means of a population “bomb” which will decimate the Jewish community.

The mistreatment of Jews in Arab lands was universal. From the beginning of Islam in 622 C.E. Islam preached an anti-Jewish gospel. In 627 Mohammed's followers killed 900 Jews in Arabia for the “sin” of refusing conversion to the new religion. The Koran, the Scripture of the Moslems, includes these verses: (Sura 2:61) “They (the Jews) are consigned to humiliation and wretchedness. They brought the wrath of God upon themselves etc.” In Sura 5:64 “the Jews” are accused of corruption, in 5:76 “the Jews” are disobedient and in 21:9798 the Jews are the enemies of Allah and the angels. Jews, throughout Moslem history, had to pay a special tax. Jews were forbidden, on pain of death, to criticize the Koran. This applied to Christians as well. Jews were forbidden to touch a Moslem woman although Moslem men are allowed to deal with Jewish women. Jews were always excluded from public office, were not allowed to ride horses or camels, could not build a synagogue higher than a mosque, nor drink wine in public. Jews were not allowed to pray, except at home, and Jews had to get off the sidewalk if a Moslem passed by. A Jew could not testify in a Moslem court. In addition, Jews and Christians had to wear distinctive clothes including a yellow badge, an idea which was adopted by the Nazi brutes in the 1940’s.

Sudden persecutions, violence and murder were constant events in the lives of the Jewish communities in Moslem lands. For example, in 1066 Arab mobs murdered Joseph HaNagid, the most prominent member of the Granada Jewish community and then slaughtered all 5,000 Jews in that city. In 1465 Arab mobs attacked the Jews of Fez in Morocco, killing thousands. In the 12th century similar murders of Jews took place in North Africa and as late as 1785 hundreds of Jews were murdered in Libya. In 1805, 1830 and 1880 massacres of Jews occurred in Marrakesh.

Synagogues were burnt in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen for centuries. Repeatedly Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death. The Jews in all Arab countries lived in ghettos (from get, a Hebrew word for divorce or separation). Jews in Morocco were forced to walk barefoot as Moslem children were encouraged to throw stones at Jews on the street. In the Ottoman Empire “ritual murder” was attributed to Jews every year at Pesach. These horrors continued until the Jews of Israel made themselves independent despite the United Nations and the Arab haters.

Therefore, do not fall for the propaganda that the trouble between Jews and Arabs was caused by the establishment of Israel.   Exactly the opposite. If Israel did not exist, the Jews in Arab lands would still be in the ghetto, still the butt of Moslem hatred.

In sum, we learn here that the Exodus from Arab lands was as much a liberation from slavery as the first Exodus. Let us, after the recent Pesach season, keep that in mind and stand up for the rights of the Jews from Egypt and Jordan, from Iraq and Yemen, from Syria and Iran from all those places who have not yet learned the lesson of Leviticus 19:18 (Look it up).

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Grandparents:  A New Look at the Supporting Generation (with Dr. Ursula A., Falk, 2002), & Man's Ascent to Reason (2003).

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