Forgotten Millions: The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands

Front Cover
Malka Hillel Shulewitz
A&C Black, Oct 27, 2000 - Religion - 258 pages
The untold story of how the once flourishing Jewish communities in the Arab Middle East have virtually disappeared.

The Forgotten Millions tells the story of the modern Jewish exodus from the Arab lands against the backdrop of the historical presence of Christian and other minorities. The Jewish presence in this area-present-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, the Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen-preceded the rise of Islam by more than a thousand years. These Jewish communities often played a leading role in the development of the region, particularly as recorded in the Cairo Genizah, with which the book begins.

In 1948 when the state of Israel was declared, there were an estimated 870,000 Jews in the region. By 1986, a generation later, the ancient Jewish peoples had virtually disappeared. Only about 20,000 remain, mainly in North Africa. Of these refugees, some 200,000 opted for the Americas and other Western countries; the majority migrated to Israel, where today they and their progeny comprise over 40 per cent of the population. What happened to trigger the transfer of whole communities? Why did this historic movement and the tragedy that preceded it fail to leave their impress either on the contemporary annals of the Jewish people or on the consciousness of the free world? The Forgotten Millions probes the reasons for this silence.

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About the author (2000)

Malka Hillel Shulewitz is a lecturer and writer. She has participated in the work of many organizations, including serving for seventween years as Executive Director and Publications Editor of the Israel Academic Committee on the Middle East, and is a founding member of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries.

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