Email Email   


Jews in Iraq constitute the oldest Jewish community in the world aside from Israel. Iraq, the Babylonia of the Bible and the Talmud, was the Jews’ first land of exile, to which they were driven from Palestine by Nebuchadnezzar after he had destroyed the First Temple in 597 B.C.E. The Babylonian Talmud was composed there. But due to repeated unrest and disorder in the country caused by a series of wars, Jews steadily emigrated to India and to Persia where they created communities, known as Baghdad Jews, which still exist today. In the 7th century, Arabs conquered the country. Under Harun-al-Rashid’s rule from 786 to 809, the scholars and leaders of the Talmudic academies began to make contact with the various Jewish communities in Europe. Their influence extended to Jews in both Europe and North Africa.

In 1534, Turkey conquered that area which today comprises the land of Iraq and ruled it until 1917 when Great Britain won it. In 1932, the independent kingdom of Iraq was established. Both under the British mandate and under Iraqi sovereign rule, Jews lived in comparative freedom. A good number enjoyed prosperity and even wealth, especially in the capital city of Baghdad. About 50,000 Jews resided there, representing approximately 20 percent of the population.

Spiritually, the Jewish community in Iraq had deteriorated since its original growth and development. The Alliance Isra

Print Friendly, PDF & Email