The  Middle East 's Jewish refugees - October  2013

The Middle East's Jewish refugees

- Update 129 - October 2013

1. A minority rights group in Tunisia has claimed the Jews had been attacked on several occasions over the High Holydays. The group criticised the police for taking either a heavy-handed response or for neglecting to take action.
2. The first Arab to have saved Jews during the Nazi Holocaust is honoured as a Righteous Gentile.

3. The opening of the  Iraq-Jewish archive exhibition at the National Archives in Washington DC has been delayed by the US federal government shut-down. Nevertheless, momentum is building against the return of the archive to Iraq.

IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY PLEASE SIGN AND CIRCULATE the PETITION: Don't let the Jewish archive go back to Iraq

4. One in 12 Israelis witnessed the funeral procession of  Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef, zt"l (pictured). The Baghdad-born emeritus chief rabbi, who spent three years in Egypt, is considered one of the most influential rabbis of his generation.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died on 7 October

For links to all stories, scroll down to Press Review below.



CALLING ALL READERS: Our revamped Jerusalem Post blog 'Clash of Cultures' invites you to submit a post. If you have something interesting to say on the issue of Jews from Arab countries or would like to tell your story, please email

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*"Arabic with Vivien Mazin: Three Arabic Evening Classes ranging from Total Beginners to Intermediate levels starting from 30 September every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. 8 pm to 10 pm at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, 94 North End Road, London, NW11 7SX.  
Tel.No: 020 8457 5000   E-mail:" 

*Memorial Service for Maran Ha'gaon Harav Ovadia Yosef zt"l.  Lauderdale Road Synagogue. Sunday 13 October. Arbit 8pm in the presence of prominent Dayanim and Rabbanim of the Sephardi Community.                                                                                  

*Why the 'Right of Return' is the biggest stumbling block to Middle East peace. Presentation by Israeli columnist Ben-Dror Yemeni followed by Q&A. Harif/Anglo-Israel Association. Tuesday 22 October. 6.45 pm - 8.15pm. House of Commons Committee Room 2. Harif/Anglo-Israel Association. As places are limited please book early through

Egyptian film-maker Amir Ramses

*Amir Ramses's Jews of Egypt. British premiere of the film the Egyptian authorities tried to ban. In the presence of the film-maker, who will be coming from Cairo. Sunday 27 October, Phoenix Cinema, London N2 9PJ. Association of Jews from Egypt/ Harif. Doors open 10 am for 10.30 (prompt) screening. £12. Booking: Maurice Maleh 01923 856801 or Harif 07506033848 or email :

*Jews of Kerala. Our intrepid and entertaining reporter Dr Saul Zadka will take you on an exotic journey to meet the last Jews of Cochin, India. Wednesday 30 October, 8pm. Harif/Spiro Ark. Hampstead Gardens Suburb synagogue, Norrice Lea, N2.  Booking Spiro Ark 0207 289 6321; Harif

Fort Kochi synagogue, Cochin

*Ottoman Memories: Transculturalism and Empires in Comparison. 1 November. Free. Speakers include: Beverley Butler (Institute of Archaeology, UCL), John McLeod (University of Leeds), Jay Prosser (University of Leeds), Wendy Pullan (University of Cambridge), Sami Zubaida (Birkbeck, University of London). Details at

*The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon. David Sassoon, dress designer of Iraqi-Jewish origin, has clothed the great and the good (Cilla Black pictured below). Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF.  Sunday 3 November at 11am.  Tickets £10 in advance.  Wembley S&P Ladies' Guild.
To book please email or phone Sonia on 020 8904 5698.

*The Volleyball Players of Baghdad. (60 min film). In the presence of senior Rabbi Joseph Dweck. An Iraq-Jewish volleyball team in London talk about home, exile and their search for identity.  By popular demand, David Dangoor presents a second screening on Tuesday 12 November at the Westminster Academy, 255 Harrow Road, London W2. 7 pm for 7.30 pm.  Booking

*Understanding Dhimmitude.  Launch of book by Bat Ye'or, Cairo-born pioneer historian. Wednesday 20 November. 8pm. Harif/Spiro Ark. Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue, Norrice Lea, N2. Booking Spiro Ark 0207 289 6321; Harif

*Rita is coming to London! Concert by Israel's national singer at London Hilton Metropole, 225 Edgware Road, W2 1JU. Thursday 12 December, 7.30 pm. Following her historic performance at the UN, Rita will reconnect with her Persian roots and deliver ‘My Joys’, an enchanting world music experience.
Accompanied by 8 musicians she will be performing her greatest hits in what promises to be a night to remember. Contact for excellent Harif seats.


*Minority religions conference 14 Jan 2014: Call for Papers

*What future for Egypt's Jewish heritage? Presentation by Roger Bilboul, a regular visitor to Egypt. Wednesday 29 January.  8 pm. Harif/Spiro Ark. Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue, Norrice Lea, N2. Booking Spiro Ark 0207 289 6321; Harif

*JUSTICE FOR JEWISH REFUGEES WEEK. Beginning 17 February 2013. To mark the memorial day for Jewish Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, Harif will be holding an exciting series of special events:

*Soiree orientale with Harif.  In the presence of the Israeli ambassador and prominent Sephardi personalities. Monday 17 February. Buffet supper end entertainment by Israeli storyteller Yossi Alfi.  London venue. Details to be confirmed.

*Westminster Committee Room briefing on Jewish Refugees. Tuesday 18 February. Harif/BICOM. Details to come.

*Operation Mural.  In tribute to the late David Littman, his widow Gisele (a.k.a the historian Bat Ye'or) will present a screening of a 55-minute award-winning documentary telling the story of how she and her husband managed to smuggle over 500 Jewish children from Morocco to Israel in 1961. Wednesday 19 February. 8 pm. Harif/Spiro Ark. Holland Park synagogue, W11. Booking Spiro Ark 0207 289 6321; Harif

* Ancient Mesopotamia galleries at the British Museum.  Exclusive Harif tour with Linda Stellman, followed by tea. 3 pm. FREE. Thursday 20 February. Places limited, please book early. Harif

A Babylonian almanac

*Conspiracy theories of the Middle East. Mossad sharks and birds and how PEPSI stands for Pay Each Penny Saved to Israel. Entertaining expose by Dr Saul Zadka. Spiro Ark/ Harif. Wednesday 26 February. 8 pm.  Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue, Norrice Lea, N2. Booking Spiro Ark 0207 289 6321; Harif

Harif events are listed at the Harif website


*Shadow in Baghdad. 
Film by Duki Dror telling the true story of Linda Menuhin's search for information about her father, who disappeared without trace in 1970s Baghdad. Library of Congress on 28 October. Washington DC JCC on 29 October. Details

*Iraqi-Jewish archives exhibition 11 October 2013 - 5 January 2014. National Archives Building, Washington DC. NB Opening has been delayed by federal government shut down




Most of the following articles, and much more - at the frequently-updated weblog, Point of No Return.
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Yosef was Israel's 'Martin Luther King Jr'

Memorial Day will end 2nd class Zionism

BBC TV mentions exodus from Egypt

First Arab honoured as Righteous Gentile



Archive was never Iraq's patrimony


Police harasses 'fed up' Tunisian Jews


Confessions of an Iranian canary


We are not Arab Christians but Christians who speak Arabic

Kurdish Muslims visit Jerusalem festival

The awakening of the Non-Arab Spring

Why are we so quiet about Christianophobia?


UNWRA, an obstacle to Peace

Abbas contradicts his refugee story

UNESCO and bias against Israel

Return is a recipe for mayhem

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