by Nurit Greenger, March 18, 2018

This is the story of Joe Samuels, the director of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa). Joe’s family had lived in Iraq for 2600 years, much longer than had the Arabs, who conquered the area in the 7th Century. Jews were dhimmis under Islam, but despite the multiple limitations, in the 20th Century, there was a thriving community of Jews in Bagdhad, many of them professional. Joe Samuels remembers that when he was a child, Passover as a joyous occasion, with its scrupulous cleaning and boisterous seder. The Passover of 1941 was different. Influenced by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler’s friend, with some exceptions, the local Arabs subjected the Jews to rioting, rampages and rape. When Israel became a state in 1948, a Jewish state, a state the Arabs could not subjugate, hostility intensified. Like so many others, voluntarily or under fear of death, Samuels left Iraq and celebrated his first Passover in Jerusalem in 1950. For a more detailed history of the Jewish Iraqui community and its disintegration under the influence of Nazi Germany, read Emmanuel Miller’s article here.

AUTHOR: Nurit Greenger is a writer and journalist. She writes that she is “a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general.”

This article was published March 18, 2018 by Nurit Greenger and is archived at

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