A Forgotten Zion in North Florida

In 1816, Moses Elias Levy, a Moroccan-Jewish businessman, set sail for America from London to create an agricultural settlement for Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Germany and France in the wake of the Napoleonic wars. Established on a plot of land in Florida, his settlement, named Pilgrimage Plantation, survived legal troubles and an attempt by a local merchant to burn it down, but was eventually destroyed in the Second Seminole War of 1835. The area where the Jewish colony once stood is now in the town of Micanopy, but not a trace of it remains. Brian Zimmerman writes:

On the grassy prairie lands amidst the sage brush and wilting oak trees, Levy arrived with the goal of building his Jewish homeland. He could not have picked a better site for a community founded on the desire to appease religious suffering. To finance Pilgrimage Plantation, Levy invested in a sugarcane mill and blacksmith shop, as well as a wide array of agricultural equipment and livestock, including horses, sheep, oxen, and hogs. Then, all Levy needed was residents. Those came as early as 1822, when [Levy’s partner, the Anglo-German Jewish banker Frederick] Warburg arrived in Florida with 23 Jewish settlers, all of whom had answered an advertisement in a New York City newspaper.

Read more at Forward

More about: American Jewish History, Florida, Moroccan Jewry


The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship