When the Jews began to disperse throughout the Roman
empire after the dissolution of the Jewish state in 70, many
settled in Mauretania including part of modern-day
In the 7th century the Jewish population of
Mauretania received as a further accession from Iberian
peninsula those who wished to escape west-Gothic legislation.
At the end of the same century, at the time of the great Arab
conquests in northwestern Africa, there were in Mauretania,
according to the Arab historians, many Jews.
"The Jews are the first non-Berber people who came to the Maghreb and have continued to live there until now" (Haim Zafrani )
The Star of David, a Jewish
symbol carved in sandstone on this portal in Jrayfat
"The accession to the throne of Yazid,
on the death of Mohammed III in 1789, led to a terrible massacre
of the Moroccan Jews, having refused him their support in his
fight with his brother for the succession".....
......... "In Mogador, strife arose between the Jews and
the city judge on the one hand, and the Moorish citizens on
the other; the dispute was over the question of Jewish garb.
Finally the Jews were ordered to pay 100,000 piasters and three
shiploads of gunpowder; and most of them were arrested and beaten
daily until the payment was made. Many fled beforehand to Gibraltar
or other places; some died as martyrs; and some accepted Islam."
"The condition of the Jews has always been better in Mogador
than in many other parts of the empire, as the sultans—especially
those of the Sherifian dynasty—in many instances favored
them. An exception, however, was made in this respect by the
sultan Muley Yazid, who in order to convert
ten Jews of Mogador tortured them for ten days by repeatedly
hanging them head downward in a dry cistern and bastinadoing
them. When the news of the death of Muley Yazid came, some of
them had expired and one had embraced Islam; the rest were set
Rabbis in Mogador
Yahya, from Agadir Jacob Bibaz, from Rabat; Abraham Coriat, author of "Sefer Zekut Abot"
(went to Leghorn in 1793) Hayyim Pinto (d. 1845) David ibn al-Hazzan (d. 1828) Joseph ben Jacob Almalih, called Joseph al-Kabir
(d. Jerusalem 1837) Abraham Coriat II., author of "Sefer Berit Abot" Joseph ben Aaron Almalih
Abraham ibn 'Attar (d. 1882) Moses Cohen (emigrated to the city of Morocco) Abraham Sabah (d. 1903) Judah ben Maniel, Mas'ud KnafoJoseph ibn 'Attar
At the end of 19th century, the Jewish community in Essaouira amounted to 7700 people in the Mellah and 700 in the two Kasbah.
In the new constitution adopted in 2011 in the context of the Arab spring , his majesty King Mohammed VI established the "Hebrew distinctive charactreristic" of Morocco as " one of the age-old pieces " of "its national identity"" and he called for "the restauration of all the Jewish temples " in the Kingdom.Source:
Le Guido - le magazine d' Essaouira. Edition media business Essaouira No. 38 2013
La Reine de Mogador 1922
"Jews first arrived to the land now known as Morocco over
2000 years ago. Protected under the Islamic Principle of Tolerance
since the 7th century, they flourished, holding high positions
in trade and government. The Star of David was a symbol shared
by all Moroccans, appearing on currency and even the national
flag. During the Holocaust, when asked for a list of Jews, King
Mohammed V declared, “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan
citizens.” Jews and Muslims were united by culture and kingdom."
A famous inhabitant of Essaouira, the adviser
of the king to the foreign affairs, André
Azoulay who is of Jewish confession,
has said that his birthplace Essaouira is, “the
single place in the Arab world equipped with a population mainly
Jewish until 1930, could be used today as example for the dialogue
between the Jews and the Moslems throughout the world”
Today the State of Israel
is home to nearly 1,000,000 Jews of Moroccan descent,
around 15% of the nation's total population.
During the 19th century
the Jewish population in Essaouira grew from 4,000 to 12,000 from
1830 to 1912, and declined to about 6500 in 1936.This is attributed
to the decline of commerce and other economic activity during
the French Protectorate era in Mogador in favor of Casablanca
The immigration trends of the 1950s and 1960s caused the Mogador
Jewish community to dwindle. A new era began for Essaouira.
In the early 1970s most of its Jewish community members resided
in USA,Canada, Europe and Israel. By 2005, the community had almost
"The expenses of the community
came from taxes on kosher meat, on imported products, and from
various donations from international sources. Many religious schools,
a yeshiva, and several English-French Jewish schools were founded
in Essaouira in the 1800s. In the early 20th century, the Jewish
population in Essaouira was still higher than the Muslim population,
and urban life was regulated by the Jewish calendar. While in
1901 the Jewish community counted 19,000 people, the number went
down to 5,000 at the beginning of the French Protectorate and
continued to decline during the 1950s and 1960s. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5278591
Juifs du Maroc Fastes et facettes
"For over 1200 years, Jews and Muslims lived together in Morocco and cooperated in the development of its cultural and artistic wealth. This video reflects the nesting and sensitivities which in Moroccan land, are reflected in the culture and Jewish art: common themes and motifs in jewelry, costumes, music, singing, poetry, everyday life. If you believe that peace is a necessity; If you are tolerant, respectful of the difference of each other."
Essaouira had a Jewish quarter too ....
Inside Jewish Morocco
AL JAZEERA WORLD(VIDEO) Return to Morocco
The story of Morocco's Jewish community
told from the perspective of those who have left, stayed or are now returning.
The concept of dhimma that applies to Jews and Christians stipulates submissive behavior towards Muslims. The dhimmi must meet a series of prohibitions: do not carry a gun, do not ride a horse, do not build new places of worship, do not raise your voice at ceremonies or may not resemble the Muslims in their clothing. Source: En francais DHIMMI !!! (Dafina.net)
Jewish Wedding in Morocco - Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix
There are rumors that the Sultan of Morocco at that time , Mulai Abd al-Aziz IV, wanted to marry the daughter of the head of the Jewish community and that would report this as the Star of David appears on coins and stamps of that period.