Issue 71 - April 1999

This is an overview of a selection of articles from this issue of The Scribe. The full selection are available through the menu bar on the left.


One Generation Passeth Away, And Another Generation Cometh


The Baghdad Hangings, 1969

On Wednesday 27 January 1999, a commemoration service was held at the Lauderdale Road Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, London, in memory of the nine innocent Jews publicly executed in the main Baghdad Square. Over 200 people attended the Memorial Service, including representatives of the Israeli Embassy and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. More

Iraqi Jewish Martyrs 30th Anniversary

Thirty years ago today 9 innocent Jews were publicly hanged in Baghdad's so-called 'Liberation Square,' falsely accused of spying for Israel. This atrocity shocked the civilised world and focused world attention on the cause of Jews of Arab Lands with all that implies especially in terms of human rights.

In London the day after the hangings with lurid photographs in the press, there was a mass protest demonstration outside the Iraqi Embassy in Kensington, London of over 5,000 people, organised by the Board of Deputies, the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue and other communal bodies. So effective was it that the Iraqi authorities summoned the British ambassador in Baghdad to complain about it and he replied that Britain was a free, democratic country and people were free to express their sense of outrage at such incidents. More

Left: The Late King Hussein; Right : King Abdullah II

In 1920, Lawrence of Arabia installed Feisal in Damascus in defiance of the Sykes-Picot agreement, and his brother Abdullah was considered for Iraq. But when Feisal was kicked out of Syria he became front-runner for Iraq, and Abdullah threatened to march on Syria! The French asked the British to restrain him, and he was stopped in his tracks at Amman. Land East of the River Jordan was wrested from the Palestine mandate to create Transjordan with Abdullah as its ruler. The Zionists protested, but had to acquiesce when Britain threatened to pull out of the Mandate. More

The Jews of Arabia

Lecture by Lucien Gubbay

Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca in the year 570.

The world at that time had its physical centre somewhat around the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean sea. There for many hundreds of years the two great 'world' empires of Rome and Persia had confronted each other in a state of perpetual warfare, punctuated by brief periods of peace.

Our world was ready for change in the seventh century as conflict everywhere had undermined the old-established patterns of society.

The surviving Byzantine Eastern half of the Roman Empire, ruled from the splendid city of Constantinople, still controlled a broad swathe of territory in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. Remember that the coast of North Africa then was not arid as it is today, but covered with trees and very fertile. More



Book Review : My Affair with Christianity by Lionel Blue

Reviewed by Linda Dangoor-Khalastchi

Lionel Blue was not your traditional Rabbi. Whenever Rabbi Blue had a lover, (Blue was gay and had the courage to "come out" publicly), he would remain faithful to his partner and not succumb to the temptation of having "extra-marital" affairs. He was, or tried to be, exclusive in sexual matters.

In the spiritual domain, on the other hand he was the reverse. Having been "married" to Judaism all his life, he, nonetheless likens the union to an "arranged marriage", because I had been born into it. I had never chosen it." Rabbi Blue had many "extra-marital" affairs of the spiritual kind, with different philosophies and religions. More

The Future of Israel

by Salim Khabbaza

In your issue No: 70 you indicated, correctly, that the Arabs increase their population through high birth rates, whilst Israel depends on Aliya, and fails to catch up.

In fact, Aliya (immigration to Israel) cannot be depended upon, because many Jews in the Diaspora are themselves threatened by assimilation. The New York Times of 16th November, 1998, in an article about potential free trips to Israel by Jewish youths, writes:

'The World Jewish Congress has projected that the Jewish population outside Israel, about 8 million people, will decline to about 4 million in the next 30 years. In the US, about half of all Jews marry non-Jews, and the children of a large majority of those intermarried couples do not remain Jewish.' More

Gathering of Shanghai Sephardic Community

A new publication called New Israel's Messenger was published in Israel by The Association of Former Residents of China. The December 1998 edition records the Jubilee Reunion held in Tel-Aviv on the occasion of Israel's Jubilee year.

In an article Joe Cohen wrote:

We came from the Land of Sinim. Some Jews from China came on Aliya in 1948 when the new State of Israel was proclaimed. Perhaps none of them dreamt that during their lifetime Jews would return after nearly 2,000 years to their homeland and participate in building the country. More


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