Three-quarters of Moroccan Jews think of leaving

A street in a Jewish quarter – Morocco

Jews are already leaving Morocco – and three-quarters of the Jewish community are thinking of packing their bags in the face of rising Islamism, according to a young Jew who still lives there.

The Jew, who signs himself Zafrani, says that the remainder are too rich and well-connected to leave. It is difficult to get money out and one would have to leave all property behind and start from scratch.

Zafrani attends a Jewish Alliance school and gets on well with Muslims. A minority do want to cause problems – as in all societies, he says. Tellingly, he implies one can always bribe one’s way out of trouble. ‘The Moroccan will leave you alone for 50 dirhams’, he writes in response to a post on the JSS weblog exploding the myth of the ‘Moroccan Judeo-Muslim paradise’.

The accepted figure for the Moroccan Jewish population is 3,000 – but Zafrani has calculated there are no more than 2,500. Sixty Jewish students leave Morocco every year after taking their high school exam. Most go to the US and France, a few to Israel. That is where he wants to go: “it’s our country and we are fed up with having been persecuted. We need to defend ourselves so as not to suffer what our ancestors suffered.”

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