The Arab World Is Re-embracing Jews

(Economist-UK) From Morocco to the Gulf, a surprising number of Arab countries are welcoming back Jews and embracing their Jewish heritage. The failures and excesses of Arab nationalism and Islamism have forced many countries to rethink chauvinist dogmas. "The Arab world has too many problems to still care about Palestine," says Kamal Alam, an expert on Syria. "Instead, they look at Israel and Jews as models for running a successful country that feeds itself without oil." Most Arabs have no memory of the big Arab-Israeli wars of last century. Milder opinions have been encouraged by leaders who see the Jewish state as a potential trade partner and ally against Iran. Saudi Arabia has not formally made peace with Israel, but the kingdom - once one of the world's most closed and intolerant countries - now welcomes Jews, even Israelis (travelling on foreign passports). Hebrew can be heard at fairs and festivals. An Israeli mentalist performed at a recent royal party. Anti-Jewish calumnies have been culled from Saudi textbooks. Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has defied the clerics by sponsoring archaeological digs of Jewish sites in the hopes of one day attracting Jewish sightseers. In Egypt the government of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is renovating Jewish cemeteries and what was once the biggest synagogue in the Middle East. The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria is restoring synagogues and has reached out to the many Syrian Jews in New York, hosting a delegation of them in Damascus.

2022-01-20 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive