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The Forgotten Millions The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands by Malka Hillel Shulewitz

The Forgotten Millions The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands


The Forgotten Millions The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands by Malka Hillel Shulewitz

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.


[The essays] highlight important issues of which readers should be better aware. Jewish Book World This book is a scholarly work and a fascinating one at that....Read the book; see if you agree. The Jewish Press and The Jewish Post and Opinion These essays by ten scholars of Middle Eastern history dealing with the exodus of Jews from Arab lands where they had lived, in some instances, for 2,500 years, should be required reading for those discussing the question of compensation or return of Palestinian refugees as part of a peace agreement with Arafat. . . . This book provides an in-depth history and analysis of the situation of minorities in Arab countries, with its special focus on Jews. . . . The Forgotten Millions is an important and timely volume which focuses on people whose history we have almost forgotten, whose exodus, resettlement and restitution claims have been overshadowed by the Holocaust and by the more recent immigrations from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. . . . This book corrects the distortions of Arab claims. -Emunah Magazine

About the Author

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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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 1999


Malka Hillel Shulewitz

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


258 pages


Migration, immigration & emigration
Social & cultural history



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