Based on new oral sources, carefully analyzed, this book explores the relationships between Jewish subjects and their tribal chieftains in Kurdistan, focusing on the patronage and justice provided by the chieftains and the financial support provided by the Jews to endure troubles and caprices of chieftains. New reports and vivid tales unveil the status of Jews in the tribal setting; the slavery of rural Jews; the conversion to Islam and the defense mechanisms adopted by Jewish leaders to annul conversion of abducted women. Other topics are the trade and occupations of the Jews and their financial exploitation by chieftains. The last part explores the experience of Jewish communities in Iraqi Kurdistan between World War I and the mass-migration to Israel (1951-52).
Mordechai Zaken, Ph.D. (2004) in Near Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in the history of the Kurds, the oriental Jewry, and the non-Muslim minorities in the region. He served as the Adviser on Arab Affairs to the Prime Minister of Israel (1997-99).
The Land and the Peoples
The Position of the Jews in the Previous Centuries
PART I URBAN JEWS AND THEIR TRIBAL AGHAS
Preliminary Remarks on the Tribal Kurdish Society
Chapter One Zakho
Chapter Two Aqra
Chapter Three Dohuk
Chapter Four Amadiya
Chapter Five Sulaimaniya
PART II RURAL JEWS AND THEIR TRIBAL AGHAS
Chapter One The Experience of Rural Jews
Chapter Two Guardianship and Justice by the Aghas
PART III SOME ASPECTS OF DAILY AND PERSONAL LIFE
Chapter One The Safety of Jews in Kurdistan
Chapter Two The Economic Position of the Jews
Chapter Three Conversion of Jews to Islam in the Kurdish Society
PART IV THE LAST GENERATION IN KURDISTAN: BETWEEN WWI AND THE IMMIGRATION TO ISRAEL
Chapter One Jewish Experience during World War I: Conscription and Evasion
Chapter Two The End of the War and the Years Following
Notes on the Informants
All those interested in the history of oriental Jewry, Kurds and Iraq, minorities in the Middle East, tribal society, as well as oral historians, sociologists and anthropologists.