Jewish property in Iraq falls prey to racketeers

Point of no Return exclusive

Iranian-backed militias  in Iraq may be stealing and misusing funds belonging to the Jewish community to finance their own terrorist activities.

Thafer Eliyahu was in charge of the Jewish community office before his death in March 2021

According to unconfirmed reports, the militias have been taking advantage of the vacuum left by the death of Thafer Eliyahu, the last Jew appointed to administer the community’s affairs,  to funnel rents and other income into  their bank accounts.

Thafer Eliyahu died, supposedly from a heart attack, in March  2021.  He had been appointed head of the ‘community’ by Sitt Marcelle, who administered the Jewish community office until her death in September 2020 aged 100. She collected rents from tenants living in Jewish property and distributed  the money  to  needy Jews still in Iraq. By June 2021, their number had dwindled to three.

As her hands were unsteady, Sitt Marcelle depended on a trusty employee, a Shia Muslim,  to stamp official documents on her behalf. It is not known if she also permitted him to sign these documents.

It is thought that the employee has been jacking up rents paid by Muslim tenants living in Jewish property. If the tenants could not afford the higher rents, he would evict them and replace them with others who could pay. According to one source, the employee  fraudulently claimed ownership of one building and sold it twice over.

The employee  was arrested. Along with his new $3 million property and $100,000 car, he was found to be  in possession of  ID cards issued by Iranian militias and a cache of weapons.

He was replaced by a man with links to an Iranian terrorist group operating in Iraq. The last three Jews in Iraq may be forced to work with him.

In 1951 Iraq passed a law stripping Jews who had left the country – 95 percent of the 150,000 -member community –  of their nationality and right to compensation. Private property was frozen but  is now being pilfered and vandalised.  Some of it has been taken over by the state, which is also demanding extortionate rents.

Jewish-owned property lost in Arab countries is estimated to be worth $300 billion  or land area equivalent to Jordan and Lebanon combined.

2 Comments

  • It is truly sad that we who own these properties are still alive , yet have no say in who is handling them and what they are doing with them !
    We rather have the Iraqi government re implement freezing the privately owned properties than have corrupt people full up their own pockets and dispense with it as they please ! While us the real owners are not only being kept in the dark , but swindled yet once again ! And no one is there to defend our rights !
    This is a double crime in human rights !
    Yet no one so much as mentions it in the international world ! Not one Jew from the 800 000 Jews kicked out from Arab lands has been compensated let alone acknowledged by neither the United Nations nor the world ! Nor even Israel ! Where is justice ?

    Reply

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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.

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