|Ptolemy VI Philometor, Pharaoh-|
Egypt under the control of Ptolemy VIII 164 BCE–163 BCE; Ptolemy VI restored 163 BCE
Our Jewish history connects to Africa since biblical days. "By the time of the last pharaoh, the well-known Cleopatra VII Philopator of the Ptolemaic Dynasty no longer held the power it once did. Fewer monuments were erected and, with her death in 30 BCE, Egypt became a Roman province and the glory and might of the pharaohs of old faded into memory. She was a pharaoh.
|Cleopatra, portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor.|
|586 BCE, Destruction by Babylonians of the Temple|
|Alexander the Great (336-323 BCE) -statue in Istanbul|
Young king of Macedonia, made a deep impression on the Jews.
As Christianity grew in Egypt, the rivalry between Christian and Jew developed. The Patriarch Cyril led many persecutions against Jews in the 4th century. This was the cause of the end of Alexandrian Jewry.
Farther west, the Vandal invaders introduced a kinder policy towards Jews in the 5th century. Then the Christian Byzantine reconquered the land under Belisarius 100 years later who undid the horrible anti Jewish policies.
|Ethiopian Jewish IDF soldier|
In the 7th century, North Africa experienced a great revival after the Moslem invasion. The Jewish communities became completely Arabicized in the language of Arabic, customs and social habits. Egypt had a new city, Cairo, and it against became the seat of an important settlement.
In the middle of the 12th century, the Almohades censored open practice of Judaism in Morocco and in neighboring territories. This was persecution and caused the migration of Jews to go east back to Egypt. Finally, the almohades lost their power and Jewish life in North Africa revived.
|Jews of Morocco|
Finally, during the 19th century arrived and nothing had changed in the treatment of Jews. Now the lot of Jews in Ethiopia had deteriorated. So relations between them and the Jews of Europe opened up. This brought security and emancipation for the time being, until the Fascist regime came to power. This led to serious acts in Tripoli even before Italy officially adopted anti-Semitism in 1938 under Hitler's power. Later, they adopted a policy of systematic discrimination. Territories under the French imitated this policy after the Franco-German armistice of 1940 when any thought of previous emancipation for Jews was then nullified.
After 1948, the Jews of North Africa left in large numbers, mostly for Israel or France with some going to Canada. Few Jews remained in Algeria since 1962, while the Libyan community had been liquidated since the Six-Day War of 1967, and very few stayed in Egypt. Almost all the Ethiopian Jews were taken to Israel in the 1980s and early 1990s. I was living in Safed at the time and saw the Ethiopian situated there. We all lived in high-rise apartment buildings. Safed was cold in the winter, hot in the summer. At another period, Russian Jews were relocated on the desert. It was too bad that the two groups could not change places, but it all depended on what housing was available at that time.
|Miss Israel 2014; An 18-year-old resident of Beersheva, Mor Maman, Moroccan.|
Update: 3/13/16, 9:41 am Pacific Time: Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said this on February 23rd in welcoming visiting Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who arrived for a 3-day state visits, the first by a Kenyan president since 1994. ( from magazine-The Jerusalem Report, March 21, 2016 issue page 3).
Resource: The New Standard Jewish encyclopedia