The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948-1951
The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948-1951 describes the eradication of one of the oldest communities of the Jewish Diaspora. In 1950 and 1951, more than 120,000 Jews left Iraq for Israel, most travelling by plane in the largest airlift in history. Scholars give various reasons for this exodus. Some point to the strength of Zionism amongst the Jews in Iraq whereas others blame the anti-Semitic policies of the Iraqi government. Yet others see the cause as a combination of Iraqi oppression and Zionist education. Gat argues that with the establishment of the Iraqi state in 1920, the Jews actively sought to integrate into Iraqi society. This integration was halted by the pogrom of June 1941 and the invasion of Israel by the Arabs in May 1948, after which the Iraqi government adopted a policy of oppression and discrimination against Jews.
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