How the Sultan of Morocco Saved His Jewish Subjects During World War II

April 26 2017

Some 4,000 North African Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, but Moroccan Jewry survived virtually unscathed thanks to the efforts of Sultan Mohammed V, who had been placed on the throne by the French in 1912 when they made his country a protectorate. Richard Hurowitz writes:

When Paris fell to the Germans in July 1940, the sultan, then thirty, was put in a precarious position as Morocco came under the rule of the collaborationist French Vichy regime. Among their first acts, the new overseers sought to impose anti-Semitic laws in Morocco. Jews had lived in that part of the world since well before Carthage fell, and over a quarter-million called Morocco their home in 1940. Members of the community had served the sultans’ court as ministers, diplomats, and advisers. Mohammed V took seriously his role as “commander of the faithful,” which he viewed to include all “people of the book,” meaning Jews, Christians, and Muslims. . . . “There are no Jews in Morocco,” he declared. “There are only Moroccan subjects.”

Vichy authorities soon forced Mohammed V to promulgate two laws restricting certain professions and schools to Jews and requiring them to live in ghettos. In an act of resistance, the sultan declined to enforce the laws fully. . . . In 1941, for the first time, Mohammed V made a point of inviting senior representatives of the Jewish community to the annual banquet celebrating the anniversary of his sultanate and placing them in the best seats next to the French officials. . . . Although there were limits to his power, Mohammed V ensured that there were never round-ups of Jews in Morocco. . . . During Vichy rule—which lasted a little more than two years—no Moroccan Jews were deported or killed; nor were they forced to wear the yellow star. . . .

Throughout the sultan’s reign, he continued to protect his Jewish subjects. When the Arab world reacted violently to the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, the sultan reminded Moroccans that Jews had always been protected in their country and should not be harmed.

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Read more at Los Angeles Times

More about: History & Ideas, Holocaust, Moroccan Jewry, Morocco, Muslim-Jewish relations, Righteous Among the Nations


Don’t Expect the Jerusalem Summit to Drive a Wedge between Russia and Iran

June 14 2019

Later this month, an unprecedented meeting will take place in Jerusalem among the top national-security officials of the U.S., Israel, and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. Moscow is likely to seek financial aid for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, or at the very least an easing of sanctions on Bashar al-Assad. Washington and Jerusalem are likely to pressure the Russian government to reduce the presence of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria, or at the very least to keep them away from the Israeli border. But to Anna Borshchevskaya, any promises made by Vladimir Putin’s representatives are not to be trusted:

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war