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The Jews of Iraq: 3000 Years of History and Culture

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The  Jews of Iraq
3000 Years of History and Culture

Nissim Rejwan

290 pp.
ISBN 9781891785399

The Jews of Iraq is an accessible narrative of the long tenure of the Jewish community in Iraq, from the time of the Babylonian captivity beginning 731 B.C.E. through the exodus of 1951-52 C.E. after Israel was established." The book covers such events as the Assyrian and Babylonian destruction of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and the deportation of the Jews to Babylon; in captivity, the growth of Jewish communities in Babylon, and the long period when Babylon was the center of Jewish life in exile.

The author documents the ebb and flow of life for the Jews in the region, alternating between outright persecution and a tolerated dhimmni (inferior) status for the Jews.
He covers the Mongol massacres of the Middle Ages, and Arab and Ottoman domination of Iraq.

Finally the book covers the Second World War, and the pro-Axis Rashid Ali regime of 1941, followed by the bloody Nazi-inspired pogroms, in which Jews were massacred in Baghdad, known as the Farhud, which leads to the eventual exodus of over 100,000 Jews from Iraq to the new state of Israel.

Because a growing numbers of North American, European and Middle Eastern citizens are invested in the quest for Israeli-Arab peace and reconciliation, and many of them are especially devoted to Jewish-Muslim dialogue and alliance-building, The Jews of Iraq will be a welcome stimulus. The work represents the recovery of good news and great precedent as a model for 21st century community of Abrahamic peoples in the Middle East and at home.

Nissim Rejwan started his writing career in Baghdad as a regular movie and book reviewer for the Iraq Times. On his arrival in Israel in 1951, he worked for the English daily the Jerusalem Post and was editor-in-chief of the Arabic daily Al-Yaum. In the late 1960s he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Shiloah Center, Tel-Aviv University, where he did research for his book Nasserist Ideology: Its Exponents and Critics. In 1995, he was named a Research Fellow at the Harry S Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Over a distinguished, six-decade career, as a historian and journalist, he has published a dozen books including Israel in Search of Identity, Arabs Face the Modern World, and The Last Jews in Baghdad: Remembering a Lost Homeland. In 1998, he won that year's National Jewish Book Award for Israel Studies for his book Israel's Place in th Middle East..