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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







The few remaining Jews in Baghdad

A cluster of houses in the Baghdad neighborhood of Battaween are in a style atypical to the rest of the area. They are set slightly apart from the road and show signs of disrepair -- a decaying grandeur.
Inside the houses' cool interiors, a handful of Jewish residents remain locked away with their chickens and simple possessions. One of these residents is Hader, and she is wary of visitors.
"we don't really want the press round here" she said. ''They all come to ask us the same questions and the neighbors get suspicious and wonder what it is we have done."'
Rumors of rich Jews and Israelis buying up tracts of Iraqi land, and death threats issued to those who purportedly sell property to Jewish buyers, have meant that the situation for a small ethnic community in Iraq who just want to get on with their lives has just got harder. Some Jewish-Iraqis have been leaving for safer havens.
''There were about 12 families living in this neighborhood before the war but then most of them left and now it is just us and another three families, said Hader.
According to the Israeli daily Nazareth (July 27), an in-country study conducted by the Jewish Agency has listed the total number of Jewish persons in Iraq to be 34. The accuracy of this figure is debatable but whatever the true number may be, it is a miniscule percentage of the total population and it is fluctuating.

In what must be a landmark journey, a nonstop flight from Baghdad (formerly Saddam) International Airport to Tel-Aviv on July 25 delivered six elderly Jewish Iraqis who decided to make the journey to Israel and join their families.

But for all those who decide to take a chance on a more certain future abroad, there are plans for others to return.

"Yes, some of our relatives are going to come back," said Hader with a smile, ''and we look forward to that, but whether or not they will stay I don't know".

Dangerous as it is for any Iraqi to stay in the country, in Battaween the rest of the community appears to ignore the presence and practices of its Jewish neighbors. The local synagogue is guarded by a Muslim man under orders not to let anyone enter.

''The only people who come here now are old men" said the guard, "but now they spend most of their time at home with their families because of the situation".


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