Moroccan Jews, a distinct case

The case of Moroccan Jews is quite different from those in the rest of the Arab world. It’s a historical fact that late Morocco’s King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from the Nazis who wanted them deported from Morocco. Moroccan Jews enjoyed protection under Moroccan monarchs. They were never forced to leave Morocco when Israel was created in 1948. The remaining Jews in Morocco were better-off.

When King Hassan II died in 1999, Moroccan Jews living in Israel mourned his death: .

Recently, Moroccan Jews who migrated have regained their lands they left behind in rural areas.

In Marrakesh and other cities, they used to live in Mellah where they used to live, which is now inhabited by Muslim Moroccans, although there are still very few elderly Jews who live in it.

Before their departure, the Jews sold their houses. A few remained. In Marrakesh city, there is still a big Jewish cemetery dating back to 1571.It was visited by Senator Hilary Clinton in 1999, during her private visit to Morocco. Until some years ago, there used to be 10,000 Jews in Morocco, the largest Jewish community in the Arab World. Now their number is down to 5,000 because of young Jews immigration to mainly Europe and the USA.

Moroccan Jews didn’t sever their relations with Morocco. There is the World Council of Moroccan Jews. Many Jews still yearly come to Morocco to celebrate their religious rites, the most famous of which is Hailoula

Maybe Jews can ask for compensations from those who confiscate their properties. It is also interesting to know that the largest community of Jews in the Middle East (totalling 30,000 Jews) is in Iran, the first enemy of Israel.

As far as Morocco is concerned, Moroccan Jews are free to come back. They’re still considered as Moroccans.

Moroccan civilisation is a mixture of Arab, Berber and Jewish elements. The most notable legacies of Jewish culture in Morocco concern cooking, handicraft and traditional clothing, especially the caftan and jewellery.

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