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French Jewish organization of international scope and influence; first to represent world Jewry on a political basis. Founded in 1860 by a group of seventeen Parisian Jews in protest against such antisemitic incidents as the Damascus affair and the Mortara case, the alliance expanded to world membership, becoming the Mediterranean area’s central educational agency and a powerful medium for the interests of world Jewry. In 1862, the Alliance founded a network of schools in the lands of the Middle East and North Africa for the purpose of uniting Mediterrean Jews with a common identity. The first school was set up in Tetuan, Spanish Morocco.

Today, the schools founded by the Alliance have an enrollment of about 20,000. Many Jewish children from the Middle East and North Africa have been educated in schools founded by the Alliance. In these schools, the children receive a secular as well as a Jewish education from teachers specially trained in schools maintained by the Alliance in Paris and Casablanca. Alliance schools have successfully combated some of the dreaded childhood diseases prevalent in the Mediterranean area, improving children’s overall health. In 1869, the alliance founded the first agricultural school in Palestine at Mikveh Israel. The Alliance maintains a vocational school and a school for deaf mutes in Jerusalem. To this day, the Alliance is a major educational force in the Jewish world.

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