chapter  9
19 Pages

A Community Trapped: Iraqi Jewry during the War of Independence

On 15 May 1948, after Israel had declared its independence and been invaded by the Arab armies, Iraqi Jewry entered an era of persecution. The persecution gradually diminished toward the end of the year when the fighting stopped, but it resumed in October 1949, this time aimed directly at the Zionist underground. The persecutions were perpetrated at the Iraqi government’s initiative and were official government policy To understand this new development, we have to explore the motives and objectives of the Iraqi government: did it no longer consider the Jews allies? Was it planning to deport them or prod them to emigrate? Or was this, from the government’s perspective, just a passing episode related to the circumstances of the war, after which the Jews would recover their previous status?