Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Al Manne

Why and How the Lebanese Jews immigrated to Israel?

By 1920, and during the French mandate over Lebanon, the Jews enjoyed equal rights except in securing parliamentary seats. The French established the Alliance schools, specifically for the Jews, as it did in all its colonies since 1870.

In 1911, an “Ottoman firman” officially acknowledge the Jewish sect and a legislation was signed for a Jewish council.

As Israel was acknowledge a State by the UN in 1948 by a majority of one vote, many Jews from Arabic States and Iran flocked to Lebanon as immigrants, settled and started a new life.

The Jews in Lebanon published a daily called “Israeli World” with editor Eliaho Mann and was renamed “Peace” in 1948. Toufic Mezrahi published a French magazine called “Trade in the Levant”.

The last Hakham, Sho7oud Shram left Lebanon in 1978: He had succeeded to Hakham Yacoob Atiya. Yacoob Miselton was appointed Grand Hakham in 1908.

The first Keniss (Temple) was built in 1890 in Aley and another one in Bhamdoun in 1915. The Sassoon family built the Keniss of Wadi Bu Jmil in 1920. The Syrian Jews, mainly coming from Aleppo, built a Keniss on George Picot Street, and those from Spanish origin had their own Keniss.

The Jewish community established an association called “Mitan Ba” to aid the poorer Jews. The other women caritatif association “A Drop of Milk” catered to the children studying the Talmud.

Most Jewish associations secured Jewish husbands to the Jewish girls and extended financial aids for the wedding and the various expenses. If the girl was from a wealthy family and was beautiful too, the dote was lowered.

The sport club “Maccabees” used to challenge the other Lebanese clubs in Beirut.

One common denominator for the immigration of the Jews was that they were done in complete secrecy:  No one of their closest friends had a hint of their departure. Though the internal security services had all the intelligence of which family is leaving, when and how. There were close cooperation with the Israeli agents in Lebanon in charge of the transfer of the Jews to Cyprus first and then to Israel, Europe, USA or Latin America

One of the Hakham of the Jewish Synagogue refused to bury two Jews from the Mezrahi and Al Manne because they married their daughters to Christians. The Moslem Abu Mahmoud, who lived in Abu Jamil quarter and owned a small shop there, contributed for the burial ceremony of his two Jewish friends

One of the Hakham was the indirectly appointed person to supervise the slaughtering of chicken, cows and sheep in the official slaughter House in Beirut. He would go early in the morning, pray of the potential animals and make sure they are killed “halal” style.

The Moslem in Beirut didn’t mind buying meat from any butcher in the Capital, knowing that the Hakham supervised the halal meat reaching the shops.

The Jew Elia Bassal (Onion) was the commander (Commissar) of the internal security in Beirut. He retired, got paid on time every month and then disappeared.

The Jews who had public positions were contacted by Israel to gather intelligence pieces. These Jews were not harassed even after claiming at work that “The Jews are the elect people…”

On Wednesdays, a US ship would embark the Jews to Cyprus before and after Israel preemptive war of 1967.

There were many Jewish physicians and pharmacists. A few treated patients for free such as Dr. Shams and the Lebanese communities went to their burial ceremony.  It is recounted that one patient came in to the clinic of Shams and sounded his pocket-full of piasters. Shams said: “You shot yourself in the foot. Now empty all your money on the table

In general, the Jewish youth joined the communist party when engaged politically. The adult Jews allied with the fascist ultra right Christian Maronite Phalanges party (Kataeb) on the ground that they are protecting them. The Phalanges Party received Jewish funds during election periods.

The funny part is that the neighborhood knew the Lebanese Jew agents to Israel, particularly when the Lebanese officials met with them on specific nights.

The immigrated Jews or more appropriately the transferred Jews (as the ones from Ethiopia) could correspond with their friends in Lebanon if they chose to. They sent letters to Cyprus and the Israeli agency there would change the envelop. The Jews rarely kept contacts with their Lebanese “friends”

Apparently, Jewish girls who could not secure a husband were wed to their uncles (the mother side).

In June 1982, Israel put siege around West Beirut. It cut off water supply, electricity and the entering of food supplies. Potable water bottles were emptied for those coming in west Beirut.

As the armies of Ariel Sharon entered Beirut, many Israeli soldiers who lived in Lebanon visited their homes in Jeeps. They had their rifles and donned sun-glasses.  Shamelessly, they made sure to blurt out to their Lebanese playground companions “Stupid Arabs

These Israeli soldiers used to spend their summer “vacation” in Israel to get military training and resume their study in Lebanon.

Note 1: Extracted from Nada Abd Samad Arabic book “Stories of Jews who lived in Wadi Abu Jmil quarter” in Beirut.

Note 2: Farid Azarout published a French article “The Jews of lebanon” on Internet offering information on the various Jewish associations in Lebanon

Note 3: Mount Lebanon was the ideal refuge for all the persecuted “unorthodox” minority religious sect. Before the year 1,000 AC, most of the inhabitants of current Lebanon were of two kinds: Christian Orthodox affiliated to Byzantium and the various Shia sects who were persecuted by the Sunnis affiliated to the Caliphs.

In the year 1,000 the current Christian sect called Maronites fled from Syria to the rugged mountains in north Lebanon after their persecution by Byzantium as heretics.

The Caliph Mou3awiya in Damascus transferred Sunnis to the major ports in Lebanon in order to safeguard the sea from the frequent Byzantium incursions.

The Jews have occupied the Chouf mountains and settled in Deir al Kamar. They gradually moved to the port of Saida for two main reasons:

1. Saida was the main sea port, and

2. The Caravans of pilgrims to Jerusalem assembled in Saida before resuming their trip.




March 2023

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