Remembering the 1947 Pogrom in Aden

Last Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of anti-Jewish riots in the Yemenite city of Aden, then a British protectorate. Anticipating a violent response to the November 29 UN decision to partition Palestine, local Jews had organized to defend themselves and, when the vicious attacks by their neighbors began, were at first successful. Dani Goldsmith and Sarah Ansbacher write:

[O]n the second day of rioting, the British dispatched soldiers to “protect” the Jews. They sent in the so-called Aden Protectorate Levies (APL), a British-trained Bedouin legion. Instead of protecting them, however, they directed their rifles against the Jewish community and shot them as they ran through the streets and even while they sheltered in their own homes. There are harrowing first-hand accounts, such as that of a thirteen-year-old girl whose father was hit by a sniper in front of her eyes as the family stood on the roof [of their home]. . . .

The mobs were emboldened by the actions of the APL and the terror intensified, a bloodlust kindled by hate and opportunity. They went on a rampage with knives and set fire to homes and schools. Synagogues were burned, Jewish-owned shops were looted and wrecked. Everyone and everything belonging to the community was a target. . . . On the third day, the killing, injuries, and burning of homes continued unabated. Only sometime after midday did the commanders of the British army intervene and send in marines, who were moored at the port, to quell the riots.

The results of the three days of terror were dreadful. Eighty-seven Jews, members of the local Aden community and Jewish refugees from [the independent kingdom of] Yemen, had been slaughtered or burned to death. The count included children, women, and the elderly. Nobody was given quarter. Over 70 more were seriously injured. The two Jewish schools, several synagogues, and many homes had been destroyed; almost every single Jewish-owned shop had been looted and some burned down.

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Jerusalem’s Economic Crisis, Its Arabs, and Its Future

Oct. 18 2018

The population of Israel’s capital city is 38-percent Arab, making Arab eastern Jerusalem the largest Arab community in the country. Connected to this fact is Jerusalem’s 46-percent poverty rate—the highest of any Israeli municipality. The city’s economic condition stems in part from its large ultra-Orthodox population, but there is also rampant poverty among its Arab residents, whose legal status is different from that of both Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Haviv Rettig Gur explains:

Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants are not Israeli citizens—in part because Palestinian society views acceptance of Israeli citizenship, [available to any Arab Jerusalemite who desires it], as acceptance of Israeli claims of sovereignty over the city, and in part because Israel is not eager to accept them, even as it formally views itself as having annexed the area. Nevertheless, they have a form of permanent residency that, unlike West Bank Palestinians, allows them unimpeded access to the rest of Israel. . . .

There are good reasons for this poverty among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, rooted in the political trap that has ensnared the Arab half of the city and with it the rest of the city as well. Right-wing Israeli political leaders have avoided investing in Arab eastern Jerusalem, fearing that such investments would increase the flow of Palestinians into the city. Left-wing leaders have done the same on the grounds that the Arab half would be given away in a future peace deal.

Meanwhile, eastern Jerusalem’s complicated situation, suspended between the Israeli and Palestinian worlds, means residents cannot take full advantage of their access to the Israeli economy. For example, while most Arab women elsewhere in Israel learn usable Hebrew in school, most Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem teach from the Palestinian curriculum, which does not offer students the Hebrew they will need to find work in the western half of the city. . . .

It is not unreasonable to argue that Jerusalem cannot really be divided, not for political reasons but for economic ones. If Jerusalem remains a solely Israeli capital, it will have to integrate better its disparate parts and massively develop its weaker communities if it hopes ever to become solvent and prosperous. Arabs must be able to find more and better work in Jewish Jerusalem—and in Arab Jerusalem, too. Conversely, if the city is divided into two capitals, that of a Jewish state and that of a Palestinian one, that won’t change the underlying economic reality that its prosperity, its capacity to accommodate tourism and develop efficient infrastructure, and its ability to ensure access for all religions to their many holy sites, will still require a unified urban space.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli economy, Jerusalem