The northern Iraqi city of Mosul—whose eastern half lies on the ruins of Nineveh—remains, despite the best efforts of Islamic State (IS), a major center of Assyrian Christianity. But once it was also home to a substantial Jewish community, which dates to the mid-7th century CE and in 1947 had nearly 6,000 members. Like the rest of Iraqi Jewry, the Jews of Mosul emigrated en masse in the 1950s due to increasingly brutal anti-Semitism. Rebecca Collard reports on the efforts of Omar Mohammed—a local history professor who achieved global attention for his reporting during the Islamic State occupation—to preserve the remnants of Jewish history in the city’s old Jewish quarter. (Audio, 8 minutes.)
Preserving the Remnants of Jewish Mosul
Will Costco Go to Israel?
Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.
Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.
Is the move likely to happen?
“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”
Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”