The End of Jewish Communities in Muslim Lands, 1947-1977
Between the two world wars and especially during the nineteen twenties Jewish communities in Muslim lands had enjoyed one of their finest epochs in Modern times. Yet it took only three years since the end of World War II that those Jews started a massive emigration out of their countries. The first to leave were members of the small Libyan community (1949-1952). This was followed by the departure of almost all Yemenite Jews (1949-1950) and of the large and strong community of Jews in Iraq (1950-1951). All of these communities came to Israel.
Generally speaking, Jews from other countries left in several waves to various destinations. The majority of Jews from the largest, Moroccan community (over a quarter of a million people in 1948) came to Israel in three waves: 30,000 in 1947-1951; about 70 thousand in1954-1956 and some 90 thousand in 1961-1964. About 75-80% of Moroccan Jewry came to the Jewish state. However this was not case with the Algerian Jews (about 140,000) who almost all went to France, as did about half of the Jews of Tunisia (100,000); the other half came to Israel.
How did this change in the history of the Jews in Muslim countries (and especially in the Arab ones) came about? Is the turning point to be found in the historical events that all foreign minorities in these countries went through during World War II or was it related to the national conflict between Jews and Arabs that erupted in 1948? How can one explain the variety of destinations chosen for immigration by members of the very same communities?
WE shall try to answer these questions while making use of various sources: Documentation, scientific research, literature and the cinema.