The crushing fate of the last Jews in Iraq

The latter bequeathed to him four multi-million dollar buildings classified as historic heritage. Since he is not allowed to sell them, he rents them out for the gold price. It is not necessary for him to work.

Habibiya Jewish Cemetery in Baghdad, Iraq.


Habibiya Jewish Cemetery in Baghdad, Iraq.

AFP

A golden prison

Broken by seven years of “hidden and forbidden love” with a Muslim woman, Michel sinks into alcohol, consumed by the memory of him who even today knows nothing of his origins and the reasons for his alienation. Fearing to betray his Judaism, but also to confront his beloved tribe, he gave up marrying her.

“As a Jew living in Iraq, you keep a low profile and maintain the least possible relationship”

Forever single, Michel describes Iraq as his golden prison. “We keep everything about our prayers, religious holidays and weddings secret so as not to be discriminated against. There are still a few Jews in Iraq, but they have fallen under the control of Islamist groups who have diverted them from who they are. I know not the details and dare not ask them, ”he confides disappointed.

A US diplomatic cable arrested eight Jews in Baghdad in late 2009. Edwin Shuker, a Jew of Iraqi origin in exile in Britain, assured a year ago that only four Jews of Iraqi nationality and descendants of Jewish parents still lived in Iraq. , with the exception of Kurdish autonomy.

Hard repression

The country has long been home to one of the largest and oldest Jewish communities in the Middle East. Its origins go back 2,600 years. It was in Ur, in southern Iraq, that “The Babylonian Talmud” was written. Under Ottoman rule, the Jewish population reached 40%.

When the state of Israel was established in 1948, Iraq had no less than 150,000 Jews. Between 1950 and 1951, 120,000 of them decided to travel to the Jewish state during a so-called “deprivation of nationality” operation, a precondition for a return without return. Their property was then seized by the Iraqi state. Accused of treason in favor of the Zionist state and victims of violent repression by the Ba’ath party, the Jews in Iraq fled en masse again in 1969, leaving everything behind once again.

Culture of silence

Michel has not forgotten. His grandparents, who raised him, instilled in him a love of country and a culture of secrecy, their weapon of survival. “As a Jew living in Iraq, you keep a low profile and you maintain the least possible relationship because the Islamic vision connects Jew and Zionism. And that is understandable because the idea they have about Judaism is explained by their actions. and reactions to Israel’s actions in Iraq, “he said.

Iraq has never recognized the state of Israel. Unlike the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, signatories to the Abrahamic Agreement to normalize relations with the Jewish state by 2020, Baghdad officially supports the Palestinian cause and rejects any rapprochement with Tel Aviv.

“What I have always strived for is to live in Iraq under my own identity”

On Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament, under the impetus of the sadists, big winners in the legislative election, went to the first reading of a bill aimed at “cutting off the path of anyone who wants to establish a relationship with the occupying Zionist entity that impose a deterrent sanction on him ”, according to Parliament’s media office.

On the same subject

    Dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia resumes in Baghdad

Dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia resumes in Baghdad

The two rival powers accusing each other of destabilizing the Middle East expressed their willingness to overcome their disagreements and began negotiations for the first time in April 2021

In September 2021, about 300 Shia and Sunni Muslim personalities who met in the colloquium of Erbil in northern Iraq demanded Baghdad’s entry into a peace process with the Jewish state. This initiative caused a real outcry. Arrest warrants were then issued against the participants.

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