When asked to speak at certain Zionist functions, many Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa are asked to focus on the mistreatment they experienced under Arab rule—not the ways in which they successfully coexisted with Muslims, or the serious discrimination they have faced in Israeli society after arriving in the Promised Land. In anti-Zionist circles the situation inverts: the hosts are delighted to hear tales of Israeli malfeasance but are deeply hostile if the topic turns to the oppression and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries or if the Jews proclaim a proud connection to Israel. - An Intersectional Failure: How Both Israel’s Backers and Critics Write Mizrahi Jews Out of the Story
An audacious museum heist, in which a timepiece made for Marie Antoinette was among a haul worth hundreds of millions of pounds, left police clutching at thin air. It was only when the watch turned up 25 years later that the pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into place. - Marie Antoinette : the queen, her watch and the master burglar
On Oct. 11, provided the government shutdown doesn’t interfere, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., will open an exhibit titled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” On display will be some of the rarest of the materials that were salvaged from the flooded basement of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence service. All told, the collection contains an estimated 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents that once belonged to the Jews of Baghdad, who, until they began to flee for Israel in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, constituted one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back more than 2,500 years. - In the chaos of the 2003 war, remnants of a once-thriving Jewish past were saved (or stolen?) by America. Where do they belong? [more inside]
A brilliant young Harvard Ph.D. faces jail for impersonating a Bible scholar—and rival of his father [more inside]
Until that point, she had been questioned in English and German. But this time a different man spoke — in what she identified as perfect Hebrew. He was dark-skinned and had a thin face. “This interrogation was different from the ones that came before,” Keunecke said. “There was a sense of expectation. It was like a show, as if they wanted to see how we reacted to each other.” - The soldier who vanished: Guy Hever, a 20-year-old artilleryman, walked out of his base on the Golan Heights 15 years ago this week. Despite searches, half-sightings, clues and theories that stretch the imagination, he has not been heard from since
"I get up every morning at 5, go for a half-hour walk in the desert, come home and have a cup of coffee, sit down at the desk and ask myself what I would say if I were him, and what I would do if I were her. I think curiosity is actually a moral virtue. I think a person who is curious is slightly more moral than one who is not curious, because sometimes he enters into the skin of another. I think a curious person is even a better lover than one who is not curious. Even my political approach to the Palestinian question, for example, sprang from curiosity. I am not a Middle East expert or a historian or a strategist. I simply asked myself, at a very young age, what it would be like if I were one of them. So, that’s what I do − get up in the morning and ask myself: What if?" - Israeli writer Amos Oz reflects on his life, on Israel, on writing, and discusses his newest work [more inside]
The Sabich is a popular Israeli pita sandwich based on the traditional Babylonian-Jewish Shabbat morning meal. It it is usually seasoned with Amba, the mango pickle condiment of Indian Origin which the Baghdadi Jewish community of India brought to Baghdad (along with Sambusak, a variant of the Simosa). [more inside]
Israeli actor and political activist Juliano Mer-Khamis, born to a Jewish mother and an Arab Christian father, was killed on Monday outside the theater which he founded in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin.