Mohamed Dekkak Raphaël Cohen Serge Berdugo at Meeting on Moroccan Judaism for shared Moroccanness initiated by the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad Marrakech

Understanding the History of Judaism in Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is among the last nations in the Arab-Muslim world with Jewish society. Acquired by the changes that shook the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages, and the biggest community of Jews in the Maghreb, the last endured the reaction of the Israeli-Palestinian clash yet at the same time is still present up to this day.

Historical Background

As per Mohammed Kenbib, a history specialist of Moroccan Judaism, it might be that the primary Jews have landed in Morocco in the fifth century BC., after the crash of the primary Temple of Jerusalem. Found on the old site of Volubilis, a prehistoric Berber city, at that point Romanized in the present area of Fez-Meknes, engravings in Greek and Hebrew on funerary steles that refer to Jewish merchants. Correspondingly, as per the well-known student of history Ibn Khaldun, numerous Berber clans exercised a cult near Judaism, Karaism. Morocco under Vandal then Byzantine influence rapidly turned into a place of Asylum for Jews mistreated by the Visigoths in Spain.

With the victory of Muslim, the Jewish people acquired the status of dhimmi, non-Muslim residents safeguarded by Islamic law in return for a tax duty, and attempted unsuccessfully to avoid interior fights among Berbers and Arabs to push transformations managed by the Almohads, the tradition of Berber source that overwhelmed the Maghreb and al-Andalus between the mid-twelfth century and the thirteenth century. The heaviness of the Jews of Maghrib al-Aqsain the specialties and trade was then fortified with the entry of new co-religionists after 1391 and the taking of Seville by the Catholic Kings, and additionally after 1492 and the declaration of the Alhambra decree formalizing the removal of Jews from Spain. Specifically, miscegenation among newcomers and Jewish dhimmis dwelling in significant Moroccan urban areas, Tangiers, Tetouan, Fez, Meknes, has brought about specific the production of Arab-Andalusian music – where does the chaâbii originate from? Moroccan, an exceptionally well known melodic classification in Morocco and Algeria. The Moroccan Jewish people prospered, safeguarded by the Alawite administration, which did not falter to ensure it against the counter Jewish laws of Vichy amid the Second World War. Morocco had 250,000 Jews in 1945.

The call of Israel

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a few Jewish families had chosen to migrate to French Algeria, Israel, or South America. Others had come nearer to the French of the admin of the Protectorate, without acquiring the French nationality, the Cremieux pronouncement of 1870 applying just in French Algeria. As right on time as 1948, individuals from the Jewish Agency would have moved to Morocco with the end goal to persuade the Jewish populace to populate the new State of Israel. The procedure quickened with the conclusion of the Protectorate over Morocco in 1956 and the Six-Day War in 1967, yet particularly with the Yom Kippur War in 1973, a war in which Morocco partook close by the unified Arab powers. 80,000 Moroccan Jews were therefore consulted to enable the kingdom to release them without restraint to Israel. Past this configuration reminiscent of the “purchase backs” of Hungarian Jews (in 1944, Rudolf Kastner arranged the safeguard of 1,684 Hungarian Jews, cleared to Switzerland for installment), this disclosure says a considerable measure in regards to the participation that has connected the Morocco to Israel for a long time, particularly in the intelligence field.

The Moroccan Jewish society is in this way an important aspect of the nation’s character it has supported to shape and enhance. Be that as it may, if the political notions have driven most of the Moroccan Jews, their social legacy continues and mirrors the quality of the Jewish community’s heritage.

A strong and varied cultural heritage


Without a doubt, the traditional, structural and social legacy of Moroccan Judaism did not have to put off until the twentieth or the 21st century to be acknowledged at its actual esteem. As the presentation Jews in Orientalism at the Museum of Art and History of Judaism in Paris in 2012 appeared, they have interested altogether different specialists, such as Delacroix and his artistic creation. Jewish wedding of 1841, of Gérôme and his bronze Marie-Madeleine in a Jewish wedding dress, or Jean Lecomte of Nouÿ and Alfred Dehodencq.

Today, the existence of the Jewish society is as yet noticeable through the mellahs, some road names in Rabat or Casablanca. This legacy, which depends on painstaking work – candleholder, lamp and apparel such as caftans which is likewise featured since 1977 at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca, the main Jewish historical center in the Arab world. Thus, numerous gatherings on this topic are being carried out overseas as in Paris, where an occasion on Moroccan Judaism was held at the Institute of the Arab World on November 23, 2013, within the attendance of numerous authorities of the subject, such as Professor Kenbib. Also, toward the latter part of March 2014, a fortnight of Moroccan Judaism was prepared, punctuated by displays, discussions, and shows of Arab-Andalusian music.

Moroccan Diaspora

The topic is likewise a vein for the travel industry in Morocco, which was connected as ahead of schedule as the 1980s to oblige Jewish voyagers in the best conditions: we can in reality spot in Morocco numerous tombs of rabbis, holy sites of memory for some Sephardim, Jews of the North African root. The hiloula, a journey of the Moroccan Jewish diaspora paying tribute to the 1,200 heavenly rabbis, unites over 5,000 individuals every year. The pilgrims go to Ouezzane to the Amrane Ben Diouane sanctuary, named after one of the most respected rabbis in the country, who passed away in the eighteenth century.

The ongoing uncertainty in Tunisia, where there are likewise numerous spots of the journey, has as of late supported the decision of Morocco as a position of contemplation. Hassan II, ruler of Morocco from 1961 to 1999, had additionally comprehended the importance of this Judeo-Moroccan the travel industry, referring during the 1980s his “brothers” to come back to visit their country. It is maybe in this point of view that in 1993, Serge Berdugo, General Secretary of the Council of the Jewish Community of Morocco, was delegated Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom, without having a specific involvement in this field. In any case, while other Arab nations solidified the terms of access to their region for Israelis, Morocco has seen an expansion in the quantity of arranged trips joining pilgrimage and common the travel industry. The graves of thesetsadiqqim, blessed rabbis, some of whom are imparted to Muslims, subsequently remain a solid connection between the Moroccan Jewish diaspora and his nation of inception.

Government support

Even though they could experience the Aliyah of their kindred Jews, a Hebrew expression alluding to the arrival to Israel of any individual of Jewish confession, Moroccans of Jewish religion that remains in the nation are characterized by their own individuality acquired from their history to maintain peace and tolerance. For most, unresponsive to the alarms of Israel, they feel associated with the holy place that is known for their precursors and doesn’t wish to leave, regardless of the unsure circumstance they are at present encountering.

Equal rights are a reality for the Jewish society, who has a powerful guide to the King, André Azoulay, and a making a trip minister to the King, Serge Berdugo, since 2006. In a nation where the government is almighty, it is a gift. An activity to remake Jewish synagogues and burial grounds was propelled in March 2015 by the lord, with the end goal to restore the 22 synagogues in Casablanca and its antiquated medina, the noteworthy and prominent region of each Moroccan city. So also, a Moroccan Observatory for the Fight against Antisemitism was made by individuals from common society, particularly of Berber beginning.

In Morocco, the destiny of religious minorities, particularly Jews, is firmly connected to the government that has settled on the decision of resilience, particularly to demonstrate the significance of multiculturalism. In this regard, obviously, the kingdom is isolated from different nations of the Arab world. In any case, between issued on apprehensions about Christian immigrants settling in Morocco, we should qualify this ideal picture, particularly as community pressure and numerous media to impact every practice of religion.

The influence of Moroccan diaspora

The community of Judeo-Moroccan is an identity that brings together “Judaism” and “Moroccanity” from over a million individuals around the globe. It is fascinating to take note of that any accomplishment of a man of Moroccan beginning, regardless of whether Muslim or Jewish, is welcomed with excitement by the Moroccan press which rushes to give him Moroccan nationality. Therefore, Gadi Eizenkot being appointed as IDF Chief of Staff in February 2015 was extremely generally welcomed. In the point of view of a potential vanishing of the Moroccan Jewish community, the diaspora could in this manner be the main beneficiary to the Judeo-Moroccan cultures and traditions, and additionally the gatekeeper of the consecrated spots. Accordingly, the connection with Morocco will never truly be broken, particularly if this legacy is passed on to who and what is to come. The main signs are empowering, the diaspora taking its duties by taking an interest in the fix of burial grounds and tombs of holy people.

The Moroccan Jewish community has for quite a while left its mark on its nation of beginning by its rich culture, its way of life, and as by a tranquil, lasting and remarkable living together. On the off chance that today many are gone, a minority stays connected to the place where there is his forefathers and stays devoted to the Alawite government. In spite of being a Sunni Muslim state, the Kingdom of Morocco has gone to great lengths to protect and support its Jewish community.

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