Month: April 2017

Algerian Jewish leader is Russian Christian

 Meet Amir Hamoui, the new president of the phantom Jewish communityof Algeria. (There is a precedent: the president of the non-existent Kurdish Jewish communityis a Muslim).  On his blog Hamoui declares himself to be  the son of a Russian-Jewish woman, then claims to be also a Christian serving the Pope and appointed by the Vatican (Praise be to Jesus). His Facebook page proclaims that he is not from Algiers, but St Petersburg. Curiouser and curiouser! (With thanks: Boruch)

 Amir Hamoui succeeds Roger Said as the President of the Jewishcommunityof Algeria. Said died in 2012.

‘Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to be among you and I will be
the pride of my family and friends, and for everyone to be under the
leadership of Pope Francis and I will be his spokesman and on behalf of
the Pope of the Catholic Church and the Vatican is a pleasure and pride
for me and I am very happy to represent the Pope and Jesus in all the countries of the world that have diplomatic relations with the Vatican. I
have to thank all the people who have contributed to my support from all
sides,  the clergy, politicians or even heads of state, artists and
athletes. We thank them very much for all of us – the Lord Jesus with
you in good and bad. And the love and peace that once gave us, thank the
Lord Jesus More appreciation and respect from me. Yours sincerely.

‘My story :

Hamoui was born (August 22 / August 1988) is a Russian of Algerian
origin, was born in Algiers (Algeria) from a Christian family of a
Jewish mother Jacqueline Rebecca Hamoui, professor of Russian,
Ukrainian, Hebrew. Hewas born in Algeria (Tlemcen province) where he was appointed
by the Russian president in 2015 adviser to the Russian Foreign Ministry.  I
worked a translator of foreign languages ​​in the federal Moscow embassy
in Algeria for HE Ambassador of Russia in Algeria Alexander Zulotov
between 2007 and 2014. Then I went to Italy to support the
missionary movement through education. Pope Francis himself appointed
Amir Hamoui, the spokesman for the Holy See and his interpreter, and I
am proud of myself, my family and friends for the support I get from
them both at work and outside. I am proud to serve the Pope, the Vatican
and the Pope in particular. I was called back to Algeria to be the
representative of the Jewish religion in Algeria.’

Read blogpost in full

Exhibit casts light on 10th c. Cairo Jewish life

Newly-translated fragments from the medieval store of documents known as the Cairo Geniza have gone on display to the public in Cambridge and can be seen until October 2017. They deal with everything from business to aphrodisiac recipes. The Times of Israel reports (with thanks: Lily): 

 An 11th century child’s alphabet and doodles from the Geniza

Among the highlights of the exhibit are the scratchings of a young student first learning the Hebrew alphabet, with doodles in the margin; an 11th-century prenuptial agreement requiring an unruly would-be groom to curtail his future behavior; letters and treatises written in Maimonides’ hand; and one of the earliest known examples of an engagement deed, from the 12th century, ensuring brides-to-be wouldn’t be locked into a dormant marriage if their husband disappeared while traveling overseas.

The oldest dated medieval Hebrew manuscript, from Iran at the beginning of the 10th century, part of the Discarded History: The Genizah of Medieval Cairo exhibit on display from April 27, 2017 (Cambridge University)

The oldest dated medieval Hebrew manuscript, from Iran at the beginning of the 10th century, part of the Discarded History: The Genizah of Medieval Cairo exhibit on display from April 27, 2017 (Cambridge University)

The aim of the exhibit was to show visitors the rich tapestry of Jewish life in the Middle Ages, when the vast majority of the world’s Jewish population lived under Islam, Ben Outhwaite, head of the Genizah Research Unit and co-curator of the exhibition, told The Times of Israel.

He said it was a challenge to select items from the “colossal material” at the university’s disposal and present it in a compelling way to a general audience.

“We didn’t want to paint either a picture of a happy interfaith utopia, where Jews lived happily under Islam and there were no problems; on the other hand we don’t want to paint the picture that is popular with some of the right wing press in this country, for instance, of dhimmi suffering under the oppression of the cruel Muslim government,” he said.

Read article in full

More about the Geniza

Police blocked neighbours in Halimi case

 Disturbing evidence in the case of the defenestration of Lucie Sarah Halimi has emerged that her neighbours tried to intervene to help her, but were stopped by three policemen. The Tablet  has the tragic story (with thanks: Paul) :

Lucie Sarah Halimi, 66, was murdered on the night of April 3, thrown
out of her window after having been beaten in her own apartment on the
Rue de Vaucouleurs in the hip Parisian neighborhood of Belleville. While
attacked, she had the time to cry for help, and to throw plates and
dishes—either at her attacker in an attempt to defend herself, or on the
floor to make noise and alert people nearby.

March in sympathy with the murder victim, Sarah Halimi, killed when thrown out of the window of her apartment in Paris.

Halimi was a religious woman who, albeit Sephardic, worked for the Orthodox synagogue of the Rue Pavée in the ancient Pletzel—the
traditional Ashkenazi neighborhood of Paris. Her attacker was a
27-year-old African Muslim whose name has not been disclosed, and who
lived with his mother, his stepfather, and his brother down the street
from Halimi’s apartment. A drug addict and a drug dealer, he had an
argument at home with his own family earlier, and in an emotional state,
had first knocked at several doors before entering No. 30 and asking
one of the residents there to shelter him for the night. When the man
refused, he threatened him. He then reached the balcony’s apartment and,
from there, climbed up to Halimi’s apartment, which was upstairs.
Several people, including his own family, called the police.

As Sarah Halimi was being beaten by her attacker, she began to shout
for help and her neighbors gathered to intervene. They were stopped
short by three policemen, who were either arriving on the scene or
already present, and who refused to act until backup arrived. Powerless,
like the neighbors, the policemen remained in the street and watched
Sarah Halimi’s body fall to the pavement. The subsequent autopsy report
assessed that she was still alive and probably conscious when she was
propelled out the window of her apartment, and that she died from the
impact of the fall rather than from the blows she’d received. At some
point during the course of the incident, her killer was distinctly heard
shouting “Allahu akbar, a phrase he repeated several
times. The police investigation is still unfolding, and Halimi’s killer
has been placed under psychiatric care.

These are facts.

From then on, things got blurry.

The following day, three things happened:

• While Jewish institutions were granted an audience by the state
prosecutor (the French D.A.) and promised “all the truth” in the case,
the Jewish press denounced an anti-Semitic crime perpetrated by an
Islamist terrorist.

Representative Meyer Habib wrote on his Facebook
page: “Is [the alleged killer] a jihadist? Moved by the anti-Semitism
that plagues a part of the Arab-Muslim population? I’m afraid so.” On
Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, rumors spread that Sarah Halimi had
been stabbed, that her murderer was an avowed terrorist, that he had
justified his deed by the Quran and that he was chased by the RAID team
(the elite police corps) when the crime had occurred. From Israel where
he lives, Sarah Halimi’s son Jonathan denounced the anti-Semitic insults
that Sarah Halimi’s children had been subjected to for years by the
killer, one of the killer’s sisters and by his parents.

• Meanwhile, the national press, TVs or radios remained totally
silent on the case. It took a Jewish journalist by the name of Claude
Askolovitch writing
an op-ed for Slate’s French site to reflect and explain the mind-set of
the French media: The killer was obviously deranged. He was now under
psychiatric care rather than in jail. He had first tried to force his
way into several apartments whose inhabitants were not Jewish.

Read article in full

Moroccan Jews receive Holocaust reparations

 More than 43,000 Moroccan Jews have received reparations as Holocaust survivors. The main reason was that they were forced back into the Mellahs of Moroccan cities. But the Jews were also subject to discriminatory quotas and laws. This article in the Times of Israel, while not as hagiographic as this one, sustains the myth that the king of Morocco ‘saved’ the Jews – or at least prevented the confiscation of their property.  But the Jews were actually saved by the Allied invasion beginning in 1942.There is no mention of the labour camps on Moroccan soil, or that Jews with British passports were put under house arrest. (With thanks: Lily)

At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
in Washington DC, there are just a handful of testimonies from
Moroccans — so few, in fact, that the chief of the museum’s oral history
archive wasn’t even aware they existed. In these interviews, Jewish
Moroccans describe the hardships of war that both Jews and non-Jews
endured: bombings, food shortages, and curfews.

“There is nothing like a ‘Wow!’ [survival] story,” said case manager Jbeli, who has Moroccan clients.

But the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany,
also known as the Claims Conference, convinced the German government to
compensate Moroccan Jews for one primary reason — because they were
forced to live in the mellahs, or historic Jewish quarters.

Under German law, forced residence is
recognized as a type of persecution, explained Greg Schneider, the
executive vice president of the Claims Conference. Moroccan Jews who
were already living in the mellahs were not allowed to move out, and
some who were living outside of the Jewish districts had to move into
them, Schneider said.

Edery, whose uncle and cousins were forced to
leave their home and relocate into the mellah in Marrakesh during the
war, suspects that the policy may have been put in place as the first
step to extermination.

“They wanted to contain them in one place. Was
it done for the same reasons [as in Europe]? It wouldn’t surprise me,”
said Edery. “The Germans just didn’t get the time to do it because of
the King of Morocco.”

However, a mellah wasn’t exactly like a Polish
ghetto because the gates were not locked (this is debatable – ed), people were not prevented
from going in and out, and because most Moroccan Jews lived in mellahs
even before the war. In addition, Jews weren’t forced into the mellahs
in all Moroccan cities.

It is indisputable, however, that the conditions in the mellahs were terrible.

Homes in the mellah, or old Jewish quarter, of Fez, are located very close together, with tiny alleys as streets. (photo credit: Michal Shmulovich)

in the mellah, or old Jewish quarter, of Fez, are located very close

with tiny alleys as streets. (photo credit: Michal Shmulovich)

Montreal radio commentator Charles
Barchechath, who was born in 1943 in the mellah of Rabat, said that food
was scarce and typhus and cholera were common.

“The epidemics took the lives of a lot of Jews of Morocco. My father caught typhus, but luckily he recovered,” he said.

Between 1940 and November of 1942 when the
Americans landed in Morocco, Moroccan Jews also had to abide by
discriminatory laws: Jewish children were expelled from schools, Jews
were fired from government jobs, and there were quotas on how many Jews
could attend universities or work as doctors, lawyers and pharmacists,
said Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who wrote a book about the Holocaust in Arab countries.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Executive Director Robert Satloff testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Washington Institute for Near East Policy Executive Director Robert
Satloff testifies 

on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 9,
2011. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“In general, Vichy laws that were applied in
France, were applied in Morocco,” Satloff said. “The vast majority of
Moroccan Jews were not working in the public sector, were not university
students or university graduates, but the laws were there and they

Vichy officials attempted at one point to make
an inventory of property held by Jews, but Mohammed V met with the
Jewish community and promised to slow down the census, Satloff said. As a
result, Jewish property in Morocco was not confiscated, unlike Jewish
property in neighboring Algeria.

Historians also say that had American troops
not landed in North Africa in 1942, Moroccan Jewry — which numbered
approximately 250,000 during WWII — may have also been sent to the death

File: Morocco's Mohammed V, wearing white robes, walking with the country's Grand Vizier Si Mohammed El Mokri after he placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the Arc De Triomphe during a visit to Paris, France around July 4, 1930. (AP Photo)

Morocco’s Mohammed V, wearing white robes, walking with the country’s 

Grand Vizier Si Mohammed El Mokri after he placed a wreath on the 

of the Unknown Warrior at the Arc De Triomphe during a visit 

to Paris,
France around July 4, 1930. (AP Photo)

According to documents that outline the Final
Solution, Hitler had planned to exterminate 700,000 French Jews – a
number that makes sense only if the Jews in French North Africa are
included, Satloff said.

Worldwide, more than 43,000 Moroccan Jews have
received reparations since 2011, when Germany finally recognized them
as Holocaust survivors, according to data from the Claims Conference.

But in addition to the payments, the
acknowledgement that the Jews of Morocco also suffered from fascist
persecution is helping to preserve history.

The applications filed by thousands of
Moroccans for compensation have become the largest source of information
on the experiences of Moroccan Jews during the war.

Read article in full

Shoah denial does not get enough attention

For Yom Hazikaron – Shoah Memorial day in Israel -Dr Edy Cohen pondered the fact that two subjects are insufficiently discussed : Holocaust denial in the Arab world (a theory pioneered by Adolph Eichmann), and the part played by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Article in Israel Hayom (With thanks: Lily):

Arabs were among the first Holocaust deniers to adopt Eichmann’s theory.
As a result, the Arab states were united in their opposition to the
Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany, which was signed
only a few years after World War II had come to an end. During
negotiations on this very agreement, the Arab states, and Egypt, Iraq,
Syria and Jordan in particular, demanded West Germany transfer
reparations not to Israel, but to the Palestinian refugees, who they
claimed had been expelled by Israel.

“The Jews are the ones
who caused World War II. Transfer your funds to the Palestinian people,”
the Arab leaders wrote to then-German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the
man responsible for negotiating the reparations agreement with Israel.

In today’s Arab world,
they do not learn about the Holocaust, and for this reason a number of
conspiracy theories exist on the subject. As a rule, the Arabs are of
the opinion that the Jews can in no way be the victims, as the only true
victims are the Palestinians who were expelled from their lands by the
Zionists. According to another theory, the Europeans did not want the
Jews and their destructive nature and negative influence on European
society, and so they asked Adolf Hitler to annihilate them or send them
to Palestine.

Among the extremists,
many believe the Holocaust was in fact punishment for the Jews’ refusal
to accept Islam in the time of the Prophet Mohammed. Senior Muslim
leaders such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the greatest theologians
aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, justify the Holocaust as a “fitting
punishment” that Allah inflicted on the Jews for their actions
throughout history. 

As Qaradawi put it, “Throughout history, Allah
punished the Jews for their corruption. The last punishment they
received was Hitler’s punishment, which succeeded in putting them in
their place, although they went too far in what he did to them.”

Yet another theory in
the Arab world holds that the Jews inflated the number of Holocaust
victims to make the world feel remorse and so agree to the creation of a
Jewish state in the land of Israel. Many Palestinians complain that
they are the ones who paid and continue to pay the price for the

There are two subjects I
believe are insufficiently discussed in Israel: The first is Holocaust
denial in the Arab world, and the second is the actions of then-
Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini against the Jews. Those in
academia and various research institutes do not give enough attention to
these subjects, which are crying out for serious study.

Read article in full


This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.