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.
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.