North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century: The Jews of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria

Overview

Before widescale emigration in the early 1960s, North Africa's Jewish communities were among the largest in the world. Without Jewish emigrants from North Africa, Israel's dynamic growth would simply not have occured. North African Jews, also called Maghribi, strengthed the new Israeli state through their settlements, often becoming the victims of Arab-Israeli conflicts and terrorist attacks. Their contribution and struggles are, in many ways, akin to the challenges emigrants from the former Soviet Union are ...

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Overview

Before widescale emigration in the early 1960s, North Africa's Jewish communities were among the largest in the world. Without Jewish emigrants from North Africa, Israel's dynamic growth would simply not have occured. North African Jews, also called Maghribi, strengthed the new Israeli state through their settlements, often becoming the victims of Arab-Israeli conflicts and terrorist attacks. Their contribution and struggles are, in many ways, akin to the challenges emigrants from the former Soviet Union are currently encountering in Israel. Today, these North African Jewish communities are a vital force in Israeli society and politics as well as in France and Quebec.

In the first major political history of North African Jewry, Michael Laskier paints a compelling picture of three Third World Jewish communities, tracing their exposure to modernization and their relations with the Muslims and the European settlers. Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of this volume is its astonishing array of primary sources. Laskier draws on a wide range of archives in Israel, Europe, and the United States and on personal interviews with former community leaders, Maghribi Zionists, and Jewish outsiders who lived and worked among North Africa's Jews to recreate the experiences and development of these communities.Among the subjects covered:
--Jewish conditions before and during colonial penetration by the French and Spanish;
--anti-Semitism in North Africa, as promoted both by European settlers and Maghribi nationalists;
--the precarious position of Jews amidst the struggle between colonized Muslims and European colonialists;
--the impact of pogroms in the 1930s and 1940s and the Vichy/Nazi menace;
--internal Jewish communal struggles due to the conflict between the proponents of integration, and of emigration to other lands, and, later, the communal self-liquidiation process;—the role of clandestine organizations, such as the Mossad, in organizing for self-defense and illegal immigration;—and, more generally, the history of the North African 'aliyaand Zionist activity from the beginning of the twentieth century onward.

A unique and unprecedented study, Michael Laskier's work will stand as the definitive account of North African Jewry for some time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[An] outstanding pioneering effort. . . . Scholars and lay readers with an interest in 20th century North Africa, Jewish community life, Zionism, and political development will find much here that is new and useful. Highly recommended."

-International Journal of Middle East Studies,

"Drawing on French government archives, documents of the Alliance Isralite Universelle (AIU), Israeli archives, interviews and published sources, Laskier provides a readable, well-integrated socio-political history of the Jewish communities of North Africa."

-Religious Studies Review,

Booknews
A political history of North African Jewry, tracing the exposure of three Third World Jewish communities to modernization and to relations with the Muslims and European settlers. Laskier draws on a wide range of archives in Israel, Europe, and the US, and on personal interviews with former community leaders, Maghribi Zionists, and Jewish outsiders who lived and worked among North Africa's Jews to recreate the experiences and development of these communities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814750728
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 1.06 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Laskier served as the Executive Director of the International Sephardic Educational Center, and is currently a professor of history and political science at Ashqelon College of Bar-Ilan University and Beit Berl College in Israel. He is the author of The Jews of Egypt 1920-1970: In the Midst of Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Middle East Conflict, also published by NYU Press.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Political Developments during the Years 1900-1948/49
1 North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century: A Sociopolitical Analysis 23
2 Under Vichy and the Nazi-German Menace: The Jews of North Africa during the 1930s and 1940s 55
3 Zionism, Clandestine Emigration to Israel, and Its Impact on Muslim-Jewish Relations: The Case of Morocco, 1947-March 1949 84
Pt. 2 Political Developments from the Late 1940s to the Early 1990s
4 Emigration to Israel in the Shadow of Morocco's Struggle for Independence, 1949-1956 117
5 International Jewish Organizations and the Aliya from Morocco: the Early and Mid-1950s 158
6 The Self-Liquidation Process: Political Developments among Moroccan Jewry and the Emigration Factor 186
7 The Israeli-Directed Self-Defense Underground and "Operation Yakhin" 218
8 Tunisia's National Struggle and Tunisian Jewry: Jewish Anxieties, Muslim-Jewish Coexistence, and Emigration 254
9 From Internal Autonomy to Full Independence: The Post-Independence, Decolonization Era in Tunisia 287
10 Algeria's Political and Social Struggle: Algerian Jewry's Dilemmas 310
Conclusions 345
Notes 351
Bibliography 385
Index 391
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