first appeared in Morocco more than two millennia ago, travelling
there in association with Phoenician traders. The first substantial
Jewish settlements developed in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed
1948, this ancient Jewish community, the largest in North Africa,
numbered 265,000. In June 1948, after the establishment of the State
of Israel, bloody riots in Oujda and Djerada killed 44 Jews and
wounded scores more. That same year, an unofficial economic boycott
was instigated against Moroccan Jews.
to Israel started upon the initiative of small groups who arrived
at the time of Israels independence. However, the waves of
mass immigration, which brought a total of more than 250,000 Moroccan
Jews to Israel, were prompted by anti-Jewish measures carried out
in response to the establishment of the State of Israel. On June
4, 1949, riots broke out in northern Morocco killing and injuring
dozens of Jews. Shortly afterwards, the Jews began to leave.
the two-year period between 1955 and 1957 alone, over 70,000 Moroccan
Jews arrived in Israel. In 1956, Morocco declared its independence,
Jewish immigration to Israel was suspended and by 1959, Zionist
activities became illegal in Morocco. During these years more than
30,000 Jews left for France and the Americas. In 1963, the ban on
emigration to Israel was lifted bringing another 100,000 to her
Today, the Jewish community of Morocco has dwindled to less than
10% of its original size. Of the 17,000 Jews that remain, two-thirds
live in Casablanca.
Sand, Jay. The Jews of Africa: Morocco. www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/morocco.htm;
and Patai, Raphael. The Vanished Worlds of Jewry. Macmillan Publishing
Co. Inc.: New York, 1980; and Prof. Ada Aharoni, International Forum
for Peace and Culture website.