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Jewish Exodus from Arab and Muslim Countries

International relations Iran Syria Sociology Iraq Arab world Jewish history Egypt Israel Israel Palestine Collaboration Palestine

The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration of 850,000 Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab countries and the Muslim world, mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s. The last major migration wave took place from Iran in 1979–80, as a consequence of the Iranian Revolution.

A number of small-scale Jewish exoduses began in many Middle Eastern countries early in the 20th century with the only substantial aliyah (immigration to the area today known as Israel) coming from Yemen and Syria. Very few Jews from Muslim countries immigrated during the period of Mandatory Palestine. Prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands that now make up the Arab world. Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French and Italian-controlled North Africa, 15–20% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey.

The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from Iraq, Yemen and Libya. In these cases over 90% of the Jewish population left, despite the necessity of leaving their property behind. Two hundred and sixty thousand Jews from Arab countries immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951, accounting for 56% of the total immigration to the newly founded state; this was the product of a policy change in favour of mass immigration focused on Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. The Israeli government's policy to accommodate 600,000 immigrants over four years, doubling the existing Jewish population, encountered mixed reactions in the Knesset; there were those within the Jewish Agency and government who opposed promoting a large-scale emigration movement among Jews whose lives were not in danger.

Later waves peaked at different times in different regions over the subsequent decades. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956 following the Suez Crisis. The exodus from the other North African Arab countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of Jews from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. Six hundred thousand Jews from Arab and Muslim countries had reached Israel by 1972. In total, of the 900,000 Jews who left Arab and other Muslim countries, 600,000 settled in the new state of Israel, and 300,000 migrated to France and the United States. The descendants of the Jewish immigrants from the region, known as Mizrahi Jews ("Eastern Jews") and Sephardic Jews ("Spanish Jews"), currently constitute more than half of the total population of Israel, partially as a result of their higher fertility rate. In 2009, only 26,000 Jews remained in Arab countries and Iran. and 26,000 in Turkey.

The reasons for the exoduses are manifold, including push factors, such as persecution, antisemitism, political instability, poverty and expulsion, together with pull factors, such as the desire to fulfill Zionist yearnings or find a better economic status and a secure home in Europe or the Americas. The history of the exodus has been politicized, given its proposed relevance to the historical narrative of the Arab–Israeli conflict. When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as analogous to the 1948 Palestinian exodus generally emphasize the push factors and consider those who left as refugees, while those who do not, emphasize the pull factors and consider them willing immigrants.

Sea Peoples

Ancient Near East Ancient Egypt Archaeology Ethnic groups Israel Palestine Dacia

The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE). Following the creation of the concept in the nineteenth century, it became one of the most famous chapters of Egyptian history, given its connection with, in the words of Wilhelm Max Müller: "the most important questions of ethnography and the primitive history of classic nations". Their origins undocumented, the various Sea Peoples have been proposed to have originated from places that include western Asia Minor, the Aegean, the Mediterranean islands and Southern Europe. Although the archaeological inscriptions do not include reference to a migration, the Sea Peoples are conjectured to have sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Canaan, Cyprus and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age.

French Egyptologist Emmanuel de Rougé first used the term peuples de la mer (literally "peoples of the sea") in 1855 in a description of reliefs on the Second Pylon at Medinet Habu documenting Year 8 of Ramesses III. Gaston Maspero, de Rougé's successor at the Collège de France, subsequently popularized the term "Sea Peoples" — and an associated migration-theory — in the late 19th century. Since the early 1990s, his migration theory has been brought into question by a number of scholars.

The Sea Peoples remain unidentified in the eyes of most modern scholars and hypotheses regarding the origin of the various groups are the source of much speculation. Existing theories variously propose equating them with several Aegean tribes, raiders from Central Europe, scattered soldiers who turned to piracy or who had become refugees, and links with natural disasters such as earthquakes or climatic shifts.

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