Arab Jews - A Forgotten Exodus

Episodes

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Magdi Abdelhadi examines the exodus of nearly one million Jews from the Arab world.

Sixty years ago, around one million Jews lived in Arab societies, but today only a few thousand remain - mainly in Morocco and Tunisia. The plight of Palestinian refugees is well known, but the Jews who were uprooted and forced to flee their Arab homes are largely forgotten.

This two-part series tells the story of Jewish exodus – a story of dispossession and torn identities in one of the most hotly-debated chapters of history in the Middle East - and how the remaining diasporas are surviving in "hostile" territory.

Based in Israel, part one examines what happened to the 850,000 Jews that have lived in Arab countries since Biblical times. Magdi Abdelhadi meets Jews from Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and discovers what life used to be like for them, how they got on with their Muslim neighbours and what prompted the disappearance of these ancient communities.

He hears their individual accounts of loss, anger and injustice and finds out how much of their old culture and identity they took with them to their new home countries.

Magdi Abdelhadi looks at the Jewish exodus from Arab societies 60 years ago, a story of...

Magdi Abdelhadi looks at the Jewish exodus from Arab societies 60 years ago, a story of dispossession and torn identities.

02 LASTHeart And Soul2012102020121021 (WS)
20121022 (WS)

Jewish communities that have survived in Arab countries for centuries are under a new threat of extinction. In the second part of a two part series Magdi Abdelhadi tells the story of the last few thousand Jews that remain in Arab countries and how they are surviving in “hostile” territory.

Travelling to Tunisia, he visits one of the oldest and most traditional Jewish diasporas in the world, a society that has stared threats in the face for centuries and is now being endangered once again.

Following the revolution that took place in the country eighteen months ago, an alarming brand of extreme Islamism has emerged. There have been a number of Salafist demonstrations calling for death to the Jews and attacks on synagogues, which have spread fear and concern amongst this 1500 strong Jewish community.

Magdi looks at how they are coping, whether their existence is under threat and what the future now holds for them as this new Islamist threat increases.

Image shows eighty-five year old Lilly. Her son - Jacob Lellouche says "she is the heart and memory of Jewish cooking in Tunisia"

Magdi Abdelhadi tells the story of the last few thousand Jews remaining in Arab countries

Magdi Abdelhadi tells the story of the last few thousand Jews that remain in Arab countries