The Suez crisis of 1956 was followed by President Nasser’s expulsion of 25,000 Jews in the space of two years. Some had 24 hours to leave, others a week. In an episode of singular brutality, Jewish hospital patients were expelled.
A post by Doron Skal on the Facebook page יציאת מצרים ובחזרה cites a report by Haaretz of 16 January 1957. The newspaper quotes a group of expelled Egyptian Jews who had arrived in Israel via Italy. The group said that patients in the Jewish hospital in Cairo had been thrown out of the wards into the corridors. From there, they were taken to the public hospitals. Security guards then literally threw them out onto the streets.
The hospital staff was also dismissed. Haaretz reports that seven out of 15 personnel were still in Egypt at the time.
In a sign of thawing relations between Israel and Egypt, the national Egyptian airline will run four flights a day to Israel beginning in October. Egyptian Streets reports:
Israel speaks Arabic,’ the official Arabic-language Facebook page for Israel, announced Tuesday 14 September, that Egypt’s national airline, EgyptAir will start operating direct flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv next month.
For the first time in decades, EgyptAir will operate with four weekly flights starting with 3, 4, 5, and 7 October.
More so, Israel’s Transportation Minister, Merav Michaeli, stated that Sinai’s Taba border crossing will become fully operational with extended opening hours, allowing an unlimited number of entry permits per day.
A recent conference on minority and women’s rights and religious freedom invited Ellie Cohanim, former US deputy envoy to combat antisemitism, to speak on the plight of the Jews of Yemen. A community of 50,000 is now reduced to six people, including Levi Salem Marhabi, wrongfully imprisoned by the regime. Cohanim traced the anti-Jewish ideology of the dominant, Iranian-backed Houthis back to their founder, Hussein al-Houthi, who first chanted the official Houthi slogan’ Death to America, death to Israel and curse the Jews’ in a school hall in 2002. The Jerusalem Post reports:
“We have to be very careful when making any comparisons with the Nazis,” she explained. “But incredibly enough, there is much video evidence which has surfaced online over the years with the Houthis mimicking the Nazis, and expressing anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric during their ceremonies, military recruitments and other large gatherings, including videos in which the Houthi militia performed the Nazi salute.’ ”
Underscoring the close ties between the Houthis and Iran, Cohanim noted that while Iran chants “Death to America, Death to Israel,” the Houthis’ official slogan goes one step further. “They chant ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Curse the Jews.’ ”
She said the Houthis’ founder—Hussein al-Houthi, for whom the group is named—took credit for coming up with the hateful slogan. “In a sermon at a school hall in January 2002, Hussein al-Houthi announced that he was the first to start a chant against America, Israel and Jews.”
Cohanim said “the Houthis have engaged in a policy of ethnic cleansing of Yemen’s Jews. Even prior to the civil war in 2015, we saw the Houthis begin their campaign against the indigenous Jewish community with their 2007 expulsion of approximately 70 Jewish individuals who lived in the Houthi stronghold town of Sa’adah.
“Nearly all of the last Jews, 13 from three different families were driven out in March,” she continued. “There is now only a handful left of the once 50,000-strong community. Most of them were flown to the Jewish state during an Israeli operation in 1949 to 1950.”
One of the few still in the country, Levi Salem Musa Marhabi, has been imprisoned since 2016, jailed for allegedly helping a Yemeni Jewish family flee to Israel with a Torah scroll. The Yemenis were particularly aggrieved about the loss of the scroll, which despite their mistreatment of Jews, they consider a national treasure.
Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, has marked the 200-year old anniversary of the passing of a great Moroccan rabbi with a call for Israeli society to embrace the traditions of the Jews from Arab and Islamic lands.
Speaking on Hoshana Rabbah, at the end of the Succot holiday, President Herzog declared: “We must all, as a nation and as a state, lovingly embrace the roots of the tradition of the Jews from Arab and Islamic lands, those known as Mizrahi Jews, and make it a significant and influential element of our conduct and lifestyles—as a society, as individuals, and most importantly—to discover, to learn, and to know.”
President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog hosted a study session at the President’s Residence in honor of the Jewish holiday of Hoshana Rabbah. The event was held to mark 200 years since the passing of Rabbi Raphael Berdugo, one of the great sages of Moroccan Jewry. The event was attended by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar; the president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher; Rabbi David Berdugo, a sixth-generation descendant of Rabbi Raphael Berdugo; and other rabbis, scholars, and descendants of the Moroccan sage.
Rabbi Raphael Berdugo (“the Angel Berdugo”) passed away 200 years ago on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Hoshana Rabbah. He was one of the greatest rabbis of Moroccan Jewry and left a tremendous mark on the history of Middle Eastern Jewry, leaving behind a glorious legacy. This special study session in his honor was the initiative of the Israel Prize laureate Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher, the president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language.
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.
Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries
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forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.