Oriental Jewry annotated bibliography

During the last decade a plethora of books devoted to the subject of Oriental Jewry has been published in Israel or by Israeli authors. The following list, compiled and annotated by Avishai Ehrlich, is only par­tial. Unless mentioned otherwise, the books in this list are in Hebrew.

Submitted by Ed on January 10, 2013

Abraham Ben-Ya'akov, Kitzur toldot yehudei bavel (Short history of the Jews of Babylon), R. Mass, Jerusalem, 1971.
A popular history, concentrating mainly on the lives of famous Jewish personalities. The author's view is that in general the situation of the Jews in Iraq was good and there was very little antisemitism. The main causes of hardship for the Jews were fanatic religious rulers (who made life difficult for all non-Muslims), court intrigues in which Jews were involved, and cases where Jews were squeezed for money.

Haim Y. Cohen, Hape'ilut hatzionit be'iraq (The Zionist activity in Iraq), Hasifria Hatzionit, Hebrew University and Institute for Contem­porary Judaism, 1969.
The best documented book in Hebrew on this subject. Covers mainly the period 1898-1942; written from a zionist viewpoint. Little mention of zionist underground in 1942-51. At the end of the book, a false comparison is made between the situations of the Jews in Central Europe and Iraq.

Yehuda Atlas, 'Ad 'amud hatliyah – 'Alilot hamahteret be'iraq (Up to the gallows, Story of the underground in Iraq), Ma'arakhot, 1969.
In a way, this book is complementary to H. Y. Cohen's. It too is official zionist history. It is a collection of stories told by activists of the 1942-51 underground; where there are conflicting accounts, there is an attempt to strike a balance between them. There are some illuminating bits of information on how the underground was set up, how it undermined the traditional leadership of the community and took its place, and about the conflict between zionists and com­munists. The stories show that the Iraqi authorities tolerated the underground. There is an account of the Jewish emigration from Iraq, and the competition between various zionist parties, each trying to preserve its domination over its flock.

Emil Murad, Mibavel bamahteret (Underground from Babylon), 'Am 'Oved, 1972.
An account of the zionist underground in Iraq and the emigration of its Jews to Israel, written by one of the activists.

Y. Gafni, Yahadut bavel umosdoteha (Babylonian Jewry and its institutions), Merkaz Shazar, Israeli Historical Society, 1975.
Covers ancient and medieval history of Jews in Iraq.

Yitzhaq Betzal'el, Levadam bemivtzar haqetz (Alone in the Castle of the End), Sifriat Ma'ariv, 1976.
Subtitled 'This is how the Jewry of Iraq disappeared'; a popular book written from a zionist-chauvinist viewpoint.

Shmuel Yavni'eli, Masa' leteiman (Journey to Yemen) 1911-12, Mapai Publishing House, 1952.
The first zionist emissary to Yemen tells the story of his mission.

Moshe Tzadoq, Yehudei teiman – toldoteihem ve'orhot hayehem (Yemen's Jews, their history and way of life), 'Am 'Oved, 1967.
Popular. Emphasis on connections maintained by Yemenite Jews throughout their history with other Jewish centres. An interesting chapter on the Jewish kingdom in pre- Islamic Yemen.

Yosef Tubi, Yehudei teiman bame'ah hatesha'-'esre (Yemen's Jews in the 19th Century), Afikim, 1976.

Zekharia Glusqa, Sefer lema'an yehudei teiman (A Book for the Sake of Yemen's Jews), published by the author, Jerusalem, 1974.
The author was chairman of the Association of Yemenite Immigrants in Israel. The book contains chapters on the various waves of Jewish immigration from Yemen, from the first 'aliyah up to the foundation of Israel. Includes documents from the archives of the association.

Nisim Binyamin Gamlieli, Teiman umahneh ge'ulah (Yemen and the Camp of Redemption), Published by the author, 1966.
History of Jews in Yemen, in Aden, on their way to Israel and in the immigrants' camps.

Bat Ye'or, Yehudei Mitzraim (The Jews of Egypt), Sifriat Ma'ariv and World Jewish Congress. 1974.
An example of selective zionist propagandist historiography. The main aim of the book is 'to show all the forms that hatred towards jews took in Egypt', from Hellenist times down to the present. An attempt to prove that antisemitism is a universal and eternal phenomenon. Written by an Egyptian Jew who now resides in France, the book appeared also in French. Reccommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture.

North Africa
H. Z. Hirschberg, A History of the Jews in North Africa, Brill, Leiden, 1974 (English).

Yosef George Harari, Toldot yehudei al-maghreb (History of Jews in the Maghreb), published by the author, Holon, 1974.
Popular account, stretching from 800 BC to 1963. The author is a supporter of General Dayan.

Israel Museum, Hayei hayehudim bemaroqo (Life of the Jews in Morocco), Israel Museum, 1973.
Popular book with emphasis on folklore and art.

Oriental Immigrants in Israel
Ovadia Shapira (ed), Moshavei 'olim beyisrael (Immigrant Moshavim [co-operative villages] in Israel), Colonisation Department of the Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, 1972.
A sociological account.

Be'ayot hasfardim beyisrael (Problems of the Sephardim in Israel), World Federation of Sephardi Communities, Israeli Directorate, 1976.
Pamphlet dealing with problems of poverty, housing and education.

Shlomo A. Deshen, Immigrant Voters in Israel, Manchester University Press, 1970 (English).
The author, professor of social anthropology in Tel Aviv University, describes an election campaign in a new immigrants' town, focusing mainly on themes of ethnicity and religion.

Moshe Shaqed and Shlomo A. Deshen, Dor hatmurah (The Generation of Transition), Yad Ben-Tzvi, 1977.
Subtitled 'Change and continuity in the world of North African Immigrants', this book was written by two social anthropologists of Tel Aviv University. It discusses the adapting of new immigrants to new conditions in the spheres of family, religion and community.

Haim Y. Cohen, Hayehudim be'artzot hamizrah hatikhon beyameinu (Jews in the Countries of the Middle East in our Times), Hebrew University and Hakibbutz Hame'uhad, 1972.