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New Edition Sent in by Prof. Shmuel Moreh

SALMAN SHINA(1898-1978), was Iraqi Jewish journalist, lawyer and a member of the Parliament. Born in the Jewish quarter of Baghdad, he received a conventional religious Jewish education in a Heder (Stadh) and then continued his primary and secondary studies at the secular Jewish school of the Alliance Fran¨aise Isra‘lite in Baghdad, and excelled in languages. Later, he joined the Ottoman Secondary School in Baghdad and was recruited to the Ottoman Army as a reserve officer during the First World War, as an adjutant and interpreter to the German General von Becker at the Turkish Headquarters.

After the defeat of the Ottoman army in Iraq he was taken prisoner, but refused to join the British forces on the grounds that the Ottomans had always helped the Jews, especially after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. He became a prisoner of war in India, but was re-patriated to Iraq in February 1919.

In 1920 he joined the Law College in Baghdad . On 10 April 1924 his weekly magazine al-Misbah was first issued, subtitled in Hebrew letters Ha-Menorah ("The Candelabrum"), with its Jewish emblem. This was the first Jewish literary and cultural weekly magazine published in literary Arabic in Arab script in Iraq. Shina edited his magazine, writing its main articles and translated many news items and articles from European and American magazines concerning Jewish and Zionist activities and achievements, in the Holy Land and abroad. The young poet and writer, Anwar Shaul joined him in editing the literary part of the weekly, and many other young Jewish poets and writers became contributors. Their works were among the first romantic poems and short stories published in Iraq, being influenced both by European literature and by the Arabic Mahdjar school in the USA. Shina and Anwar Shaul also encouraged theatrical activities among the Jewish community in Iraq, and among the plays performed was an Arabic translation of Corneille's Le Cid (1925). He also established, with other Zionist activists, The Hebrew Literary Association as a club and library, where Jewish journals in Hebrew, English and French were received.

In 1925 Shina started practising as a lawyer, serving the Jewish community and defending its interests after the rise of the Nazi and Palestinian national activities in Iraq, where there were many Palestinians headed by the Mufti Amin al-Husayni who were later, in October 1939, joined by their leader. Their activities culminated in the coup d'etat of Rashid Ali al-Gailani, defeated in May 1941 by the British Army, followed by the Pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad on 1-2 June 1941.

In 1947 Shina was elected a member of the Iraqi Parliament and served until 1951, the most critical years in the history of the Jews of Iraq, which ended with their mass immigration to Israel. Shina himself resigned from the Parliament and emigrated to Israel, where he worked as a lawyer, serving his community and protesting against what he termed "discrimination against the Jews of Iraq, whose properties were frozen in Iraq and who were without community leaders in the new Israeli society. In 1956 he unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Knesset. He continued as a lawyer and activist until his death at Ramat Gan in 1978.



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