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The 18th sect

Lebanon has 18 official religious sects. Many groups, such as the Maronites, Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Druze, for example, play a daily role in Lebanon’s civic affairs.  But how many Lebanese Chaldean Catholics or Ismaili Muslims have you met?  Other sects, like the Alawi, Assyrians and Coptic Christians also add to the Lebanese mosaic.

But one sect, which numbered nearly 17,000 in the 1960s, is nearly extinct today. Lebanon still has an officially recognized Jewish sect, made up of roughly 60 citizens, mostly residing in Beirut’s eastern suburbs. The most recent community representative, Joseph Mizrahi, lived in Beirut until 2003, when he left for France.

Although their numbers steadily decline, Jewish shadows linger in Beirut and across Lebanon. Even if you’ve never been inside, chances are you’ve walked by the Magen David Avraham synagogue in Wadi Abu Jamil, the old Jewish quarter just below the Grand Serail. Now and then, elderly women are spotted walking into the Jewish cemetery in Sodeco or the vandalized, neglected cemetery by Saida’s coastal trash landfill. Deir al-Qamar boasts Lebanon’s oldest synagogue, yet the structure itself has been sealed shut for nearly 33 years. And Tripoli, Bhamdoun and Saida still have abandoned synagogues, closed since the outbreak of the civil war in 1975.

One of the last Jews to remain in Beirut is Liza (for reasons of security, her last name will be withheld).  Liza continues to live in Wadi Abu Jamil and steadfastly refuses to leave Lebanon.  An internal refugee from the days of the civil war, Liza now lives in an abandoned building set for demolition by Solidere.  She may be the last Jewish presence in Wadi Abu Jamil.  Living alone with several generations of pet cats, she is quick to emphasize how important Lebanese identity is to her. 

“Before anything else, I want you to know that I am Lebanese… and I am Jewish,” she says at the beginning of our interview. “Don’t ask me questions about Israel because I know nothing about that.”

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Lebanon’s Jewish population actually increased.  Most of the newly arrived Jews fled from Syria in search of security and found it easiest to escape to Beirut. Lebanon’s Jewish community felt safe, and saw its future here rather than abroad. Well-integrated in commerce and trade, many Lebanese Jews left the relatively poor Wadi Abu Jamil district and moved to the upper-middle class neighborhoods of Hamra and Clemenceau.

“When I was a child, my family used to take trips to Bhamdoun,” recalled Liza.  “I used to play with other families – Christians, Muslims, Druze, anyone you could imagine. The ability for me, a Jewish woman, to play with Christian and Muslim girls and boys and never think anything of it, makes me as Lebanese as anyone else.”

But Lebanese Jews shared the fate of other Arab Jews in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Although their numbers began to decline following the 1958 civil war, the majority only chose to leave after 1967. The community suddenly found itself exposed to violence, as it became increasingly difficult for Arab Jews to stay in their native countries without facing discrimination and hostility.  Thus, the active role of Jews in Lebanese society quickly deteriorated with Israel’s victory in the 1967 war.

Targeted for the Arab blunders in that war, demonstrations against Jews in Wadi Abu Jamil became routine. In her book, The Jews of Lebanon: Between Coexistence and Conflict, Kirsten Schulze describes the rapid politicization of Palestinians and Jews in Lebanon following the war. The Jews, fearing a backlash from Palestinians and Lebanese sympathizers due to the Arab defeat, sought protection from the Kataeb party. The general climate of fear drove the Jewish population down to 3,000 after the 1967 war; after the first year of civil war in 1976, only 400-500 Jews remained in Lebanon.

When Israel invaded Lebanon and reached Beirut in the summer of 1982, the Israeli government offered the remaining Lebanese Jews Israeli citizenship. According to a report issued by British daily The Times in August of that year, not one Lebanese Jew accepted the offer. “I was offered Israeli citizenship,” Liza confirmed, “when [Ariel] Sharon came to Beirut. I wasn’t the only one then to simply turn it down. I am not, and will never be, Israeli.”  Indeed, Zionism was largely unattractive even to many of the 500,000 Arab Jews that fled to Israel.  However, there was no other country willing to accept them as refugees.

So, where are the Lebanese Jews today? Most of them fled to Paris and Montreal and became citizens of their host countries. Less than 200 settled in Israel, reflecting Zionism’s lack of appeal at the time to the overwhelming majority of Lebanese Jews.

We are left with only a glimpse into a history that is often forgotten in Lebanon.  After the civil war ended in 1990, many Jews temporarily returned to Beirut to sell the property they still owned in Wadi Abu Jamil to Solidere. Walking in the former Jewish neighborhood today, the area feels more like a newly paved parking lot than a dense quarter that was home to thousands. Some Jewish-owned buildings still stand, but most have been destroyed.  The Magen David Avraham synagogue remains abandoned, roofless and gutted. Solidere will likely renovate the structure but keep it closed to the public until the community decides to reopen it. Of course, that would first require a Lebanon ready to accept an active Jewish presence – not to mention a functioning synagogue right below the Grand Serail. In any case, the Jewish community and its presence in Lebanon are pushed to the backburner by domestic politics. Sadly, their concerns are largely considered a non-issue by most of their fellow Lebanese.

Liza believes that Lebanon’s Jewish community is beyond revival. “You are asking for the impossible, for me, a Jew, to really feel part of this country,” she said.  “Don’t get me wrong, I am Lebanese, 100% Lebanese. But I am rejected because people think I am Israeli, or a Zionist or a Mossad agent.”

Even the government’s identification of Jews is a reminder to Liza of her rejection by Lebanese society.  She reaches over into a dresser and pulls out an old Lebanese birth certificate, pointing to the mazhab, or religion, section.  “The government is too afraid to list me as a Jew. I am ‘Moussawi,’ because I follow Moses,” she says.  “But the followers of Moses are Jews, so why can’t I be a Jew? I can’t because of the problem with Israel. Get that solved and I’ll be fine.”

A telephone call interrupts our conversation, and Liza asks to end the interview here. I leave her building and quickly get stopped by a Solidere security guard asking why I was visiting Liza. I explain, and he quickly asks if I am Jewish. I tell him no, but ask why he’s curious. He says, “She’s the only Israeli I know in Lebanon. And she seems nice, and I thought you were related to her. You’d be the second Jew I meet.”

Inextricably linked – against her will – to Israel, the last Jew in Wadi Abu Jamil is protected by a guard who thinks she’s Israeli. We may be down to 17 sects very, very soon.

Click here for a full transcript of NOW Lebanon’s interview with Liza.

  • Nabil

    The Jews of Lebanon were an active community until 1967 invasion of the West Bank and Gaza.. The Jewish vote from Wadi Abou Jmeil were the key for the election victories of Camil Shamoun in 1952 & 1958 as they voted as a block. Following the civil war in 1958 against attempts of President Sham'oun to amend the constitution for a second term which failed, the Jewish community felt the loss of Sham'oun as a threat to their existence and the first wave of Jewish emigration from Lebanon resulted in reducing their numbers gradually. By 1967 the Jewish community still had about 6000 in Beirut but following this war the Jewish community worried about reaction of the substantial community of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as well the strong Nasserite movement decided to emigrate for the unfounded fear of persecution. The Jewish community was very prosperous and most of those who reluctantly emigrated left with broken hearts for leaving Lebanon mostly to the West and not to Israel.

    May 30, 2010

  • Eddy

    Sam, can you please provide the source of your statistic on the number of voters in 2009?

    January 12, 2010

  • sam

    I know that this coming a little late but I would like to ask the author of this article to review his information regarding the number of Jews in Lebanon as the 2009 elections showed that there is over 5000 Jews that actually voted in the elections. Thank You.

    July 8, 2009

  • Mariama Abdalla

    Continuation: No matter how we feel about all the harm done to Lebanon by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the early 70’s, we should have the honesty to write History as it has always been. The biggest robbery of all times was when the Jews from Europe took over Palestine in 1948, then expanded later during the two Arab wars, but also when they pretended that that was their land before the Palestinians. No, it was never their land BEFORE THE PALESTINIANS, they just stole it three times, once when they fled Mesopotamia and Egypt, then in 1948 when they fled the Nazi war in 1948.

    March 24, 2008

  • survivor

    "it is about living in peace, intelligence and prosperity." what you call living in peace and love of life. i call taking the easy way and surrendering to the oppressors. how intelligent is it to make peace with people that came from all alien worlds, took our land, killed our children. you are speaking of death and conquer. tell me who has been killing and raping for 60 years? the only prosperity we have is a small "peace of land" and the same olive tree that shed our grandparents, the same olive tree that shed jesus christ. living in golden palaces is not prosperity my dear

    March 22, 2008

  • Mariama Abdalla

    This time Sami I agree with you. Even before Jesus Christ, Israel was the usurper of semitic land. The Jews were tribes moving from one place to another and landing in Mesopotamia to serve one of its rulers. They later fled from Mesopotamia to Palestine which was inhabited by the Philistines. It is not because the Philistines have been arabized, just as was most of that region, that the Jews can say that Palestine has been occupied by the Arabs. It is the other way round : Palestine was inhabited by the Philistines, then occupied by the Jews, who pretended that they were able to break the then inhabitants of Palestine (remember David and Goliath). The Jews later on fled from Palestine due to the Roman Empire’s violence against them (remember Massada). Later on came the Arabs. But the first injustice came from the Jews against the Philistines (whose descendants are the Palestinians). No matter how we feel about all the harm done to Lebanon by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in

    March 22, 2008

  • Sami

    Ok, William, i looked into my history books and came up with the names of the leaders of the SLA, the LF and the Kataeb as well as 7orras Al Arz.Saad Haddad,Antoine Lahad, Akal Hashim,Basheer,Ameen,Atallah,Jaejae, Adwan, Abou Arz, and most of the residentd living in Ibil, Ein Ibil, Rmeish, Dibil who made up the the bulk of the SLA,Kataeb,and LF fighters.Not to mention the fighters of Jabal who were armed by Israel.Why do i have no Muslim names? Provide us with names and facts.Concerned, you have no peace in your heart, when you blame the death of one million Algerians on the Arabs, you know that France killed Arabs.

    March 22, 2008

  • william

    Posted by hanady March 18. 2008 {As posted "On talking with Liza"} sorry sami but i didnt get ur comment.. are u trying to offend maronites by any chance? and if yes let me remind u that the so called israeli collaborators SLA were not maronite my friend. check ur history books will u? and save us all some of ur unfounded accusations.

    March 21, 2008

  • Concerned

    Sami for God's sake, i am not asking you to go back 4 or5 or six decades ago. i am telling you every one is making peace with Israel and every body needs peace including Israelis. You and Mr. Nasrallah are taking us 14 centuries ago. Stop it Sami, cool down and think. you are just ratinalizing your regress into history trying to raise an ancient glory. Contemporry glory is not about death and conquer. it is about living in peace, intelligence and prosperity.

    March 20, 2008

  • Leb Citizen

    I only knew one Lebanese jew and she emigrated to the US, not because life became unbearable for her as a jew in Lebanon, but in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Non-jewish Lebs are doing the same. I believe that most Leb jews, if not all, love Lebanon like any normal human beings born and raised in their homeland. I don't expect the same from their children whose allegiance goes to their current country. It's a huge loss for Lebanon, but I hope that their parents will keep the memory of their original country alive. To all of you Leb jews out there, come and visit at least, if you have the opportunity to do so, because diversity is essential for Lebanon to thrive. Peace to all... I'm sure it's around the corner!

    March 19, 2008

  • Sami

    Abraham, we heard of Jews in the Peace Now movement refusing to serve in the IDF but we never heard of one Lebanese Jew refusing to attack Lebanon.Most of you left Lebanon to the land of milk and honey without one of you being killed, yet you joined the IDF and have Lebanese blood on your hands, not to mention Palastinian blood.In this war one cannot be nuetral, you are either Lebanese or Israeli, if you choose both then you should refuse to serve in either army as did many Americans during the Viet Nam war.

    March 18, 2008

  • Sami

    William, the Christian lost thier towns in Mount Lebanon when they allied themsleves with Israel against th Druze.Waleed and before him Kamal drove you out of your towns in Jabal, when lead by your hero Jaejae and before him Basheer who visited Israel to become a president while his brother visited Syria to stay as president.Many Christian leaders admitted to makiing the wrong choice by supporting Israel, admitt to reality , William.

    March 18, 2008

  • Sami

    ((There are controversial claims about the methods employed by Israeli officials. Gilbert (1999) and Hirst (1977) write that Israeli agents planted bombs in synagogues and Jewish businesses in an attempt to stimulate emigration to Israel, but that view is rejected by others. Historian Moshe Gat contends that, in the most famous case in Iraq, the claim that the bombings were carried out by Zionists is contrary to the evidence, and in any event the impetus for the Jewish-Iraqi exodus was the imminent expiration of the denaturalisation law, not the bombing.[19] According to Norman Stillman, "[n]either side, however, has provided truly convincing evidence, and for any detached observer the point must remain moot))William, read the above from your own source and rewrite history.

    March 16, 2008

  • MAGHEN ABRAHAM

    just to let you know that alot of jews from lebanon did not choose to move to israel as it was in a state of on going war and they did not want to go from one war to another As for where they went, they went to places where jewish lebanese had already established themselves in order to maintian their community those that were young - they went to universities the jews of lebanon were not Zionist in the raw form but hey did believe in israel as they actually believe that they were living in the land of milk and honey due to biblical borders. and believed in the jewish state but they also beleived in lebanon and that it was their home, their people, alas war broke out and the reality became a dream, one that will never be reality again over time ISRAEL became their "new home" and coninue to support both lebanon and ISRAEL and hope that one day thewre will be peace in all the land as for israeli citizenship - a jew can always get israeli citizenship with in minute

    March 16, 2008

  • william

    "bigotry and un-accepting of the different other...." well said my dear "concerned? pal.... This article and You summed up what forced Lebanese Jews out of their homeland and continue to force the remaining Christians out of their towns if not their country.... I rest my case and no longer need to comment...

    March 15, 2008

  • Sami

    David, what was Palastine before Upper and lower Judea(israel)destroyed by the Romans in 80 A.D.?It was the land of Canaan before it was invaded by the Jewish hurds coming from Egyptian slavery and 70 years of diasphora in Sainai.Samson was Jewish but Dalila was a Palstinian according to the myth.Why do you only want to go back to 1213 David?why not go back to 3000 B.C. when the Canaanites were there or let go back to 1945 when the Arabs were there.You only want to see history as you wanted and wish it to be, your people came from Messopitamia not Israel, read your history.If you want to go back to 1200 B.C. then give the USA back to the Indians.

    March 15, 2008

  • Sami

    Concerned, You only want to go back 4 decades?Lets go back 5 decades and look at the christian killings of other races such as the Japanese(1/2 million on one day).Killing of the Vietnamese by christian France and later Christian USA.Then the killing of the Koreans by Christians, killing of the Algerians by the French Christians. Christians killed more other christrians in 2 wars than anyone in the world is capable of killing in 100 years.You are your own enemy from the inside out.

    March 15, 2008

  • Concerned

    It is a matter of understanding what happened & preventing our weakness, vulnerabilities & hallucinations to control us & run our lives. Leaders are humans & most of the times they become prisoners to one line of thinking, where as they take us all to wars, destruction and misery. Instead of asking William how many Christians were killed tell us why more than 2 million deaths in the Arab world from wars over the last 4 decades? In Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Chad, Palestine, Syria, Pakistan to the rest of list. Reason is bigotry and un-accepting of the different other. The enemy is inside your thoughts. Peace is one thought away.

    March 15, 2008

  • Sami

    Concerned, when Germany attacked London and devestated it. its population were not asked if England should defend itself, no vote was taken.But England had no 5th column.France on the other hand had both resistance and 5th column.The Shiaa elected Hizeb and Amal as the only representatives with 27MP,s, no other Shiaa was elected against Hizeb by Shiaa, look it up.The bayan wizay allowed the Hizeb to liberate Shibaa and fight Israel, when you have both the government permission and the Shiaa's you dont need to vote anymore.

    March 15, 2008

  • Concerned

    Sami, the issue is not to rewrite history. The issue is not to read history from one side and arrive at the wrong conclusions just to suit a narrow, ideological and dangerous explanation of the facts. Leaders like Mr. Saddam Hussein, Mr. Assad, Mr. Nasser & recently Mr. Nasrallah read history from one side & one aspect refusing to see and address the concerns & rights of the other side. They are using your understanding of history to manipulate the masses by demonizing others. You could dream & act in ways aiming at destroying Israel but you should expect results similar to July 2006 war and even much worst. When survival is at the stake all options are open. Did you ask your people if they are willing to pay such price? Did you explain to them that a high price is to be paid? No. We need to read history with the eyes of concerned human beings, to be able to live in peace. Oh, I forgot peace and life is not of Mr. Nasrallah’s concerns, he prefers martyrdom and victory.

    March 15, 2008

  • Sami

    Tell us again, William, how many Christians were killed in the Arabic world?The only 2 countries i can think of is Lebanon during the civil war when they allied themselves with Israel and killed Muslims.The other one is Iraq when they took sides with the USA against the Muslims there.This is war and when you take sides with occupiers against your fellow citizens then you should expect to be in danger.William, for your information, it was a Christian Chaldian pilot that flew the Mig to Israel from Iraq so the secrets of same plane were revealed and came the defeat of 1967.

    March 14, 2008

  • Concerned

    go to google and search Jews in the Arab world. you will get another picture of the history which you read about in Arab books only. It is not a matter of re writing history Sami. It is a matter of having an open mind ready to name things as they are and not claim purity. , how many lebanese jews were abducted in the 80's, by whom and why were they killed. Current Speaker of the house said then: what is the fuss all about they are only jews.

    March 14, 2008

  • william

    Concerned, pass it on. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_lands In 1941, riots known as the Farhud (arabic for pogrom) broke out in Baghdad , around 180 Jews were killed, 240 wounded, 586 businesses looted & 99 Jewish houses were destroyed. It was Mufti Amin al-Husayni pro-Nazi coup there & the pogrom which forced 150,000 Iraqi Jews to flee & because of the 1948 war, were attacked &expulsed in 1951. In Egypt, with a Jewish population of 75,000 about 100 remain today. In June 1948, a bomb exploded in Cairo's Karaite quarter, killing 22 Jews. In July 1948, Jewish shops & the Cairo Synagogue was attacked, killing 19 & hundreds were arrested & property confiscated. After the Suez Crisis of 1956, Egypt expelled over 25,000 Jews, confiscated their property & sent a 1,000 more to prisons & detention camps. In 1971, Albert Elia, the leader of the Lebanese Jewish community was kidnapped in Beirut by Syria, jailed & tortured in Damascus along with Syrian Jews wanting to leave

    March 13, 2008

  • Sami

    An afterthought, William.19 Muslims attacked the USA and killed approx. 3000 Americans.2 countries were devastated because of the actions of 19 men.Muslims are still being prosecuted in the US because of other peoples action, some were even killed because they looked Arab(one was a SEICK).Dont tell us that the USA is justified in these actions.

    March 13, 2008

  • william

    Ronnie Chatah wrote this article to show the "zero" tolerance shown to Lebanese Jews in their former native country by their fellow NON-CHRISTIAN citizens when Israel came into existance... I wish to see a similar article depicting the fate Lebanese Christians and their religious shrines suffered on the hands of the hate filled "hordes" of non-Christians and their continuing plight and departure to safe heavens in the western world...Patriarch Sfeir is finally speaking out about it publicly !... Needless to add that Christianity is now another endangered religion in several Arab states, including the west bank, gaza and particularly Iraq, where the faithful are brutally murdered, persecuted and their shrines desecrated daily... I'm not a practicing Catholic who holds the Jewish faith close to his heart and abhors religions with no tolerance toward others..

    March 13, 2008

  • Sami

    Concerned, you have no numbers and no killings of Jews by Arabs in any land, you have none, zilsh, Zero, if you do you will be rewriting history.This is an open challange to you to give me links or sites to any Jew killed anywhere in the Arab world.Now you are blaming the Arabs for the Palastinian problem?Ok subject closed, i cant discuss anything with you any further.

    March 13, 2008

  • David

    There was never a Palistine as country just a region if you read your history books in 1213 BC ISRael was created put into 2 Kindoms Judea and Israel. When Romans took over there still was no Palistine was the Region the ROMANS called it not the country. Get your facts straight folks there never been a Palistine.

    March 13, 2008

  • Mar Burg

    GLARING ERROR IN SEMANTICS, RONNIE: aRAB JEWS.... And you failed to point out WHY the Jews have had to leave the ARAB countries. Or do you even know??

    March 13, 2008

  • Concerned

    Sami: Even if I list for you the number & names of casualties, facts about the Israeli–Arab conflict or provided you with the proper links to research; this will never punch into your mind & soul. The simple outcome that 650,000 Arabs left “Palestine” in a population that was about 60 million Arabs vs 950,000 Jews leaving Arab countries out of a population of a million Jews in the Arab countries should tell you something. It would be stupidity to claim atrocities did not happen on both sides. Whom should you blame if 650,000 Palestinians became 4 million refugees where as the 950,000 Jews became productive & effective citizens contributing to the World civilization?

    March 13, 2008

  • Sami

    William ya 7abibi, you mention the civil war but you dont mention the poeple belonging to Basheer arresting our men women and children who were running away from the Israeli bombardement.You would think our brothers the Maroonis will wellcome us in their homes when the Israeli is chasing us, like the Generals people did in the last war.But no, they insulted us, killed our men and degraded our Kuraan.There is no room for you to talk, best keep this era under cover.

    March 13, 2008

  • Sami

    King, the 1500 civilians killed in the last war are Lebanese not Palstinians.Anyways, no one is asking you to fight them, we will, just sit aside and dont betray us along with William.Mr. William, you know that the Maroonis destroyed our mosques as well during the civil war.Your house is of glass too so dont throw any stones.

    March 12, 2008

  • Rabieh

    sami, I will keep my comments to myself, the rest of the team on this web base are taking acre of your non-sense comments. Keep in mind though, that Ulcer is what you are going to have if you do not relax a little ya hatred dude.

    March 12, 2008

  • will

    The synaguoge was desecrated when Brri's scumbags occupied it during the civil war and you can still see their grafitti on the wallls... Many Christian churches sufferd the same fate in downtown Beirut and elsewhere... Solidere contributed to the retoration of mosques but not to churches... so don't expect them to restore a Jewish synagogue.. Countless churches and monasteries were looted and destroyed in the shouf mountains and elsewhere and the Christian community ended up retoring most of them... Will Solidere keep its promise is like asking if the pope is jewish...

    March 12, 2008

  • king

    (...) no jew has ever slapped me in the face why would i wana go kill jews?im lebanese not palestinian. i feel bad for them but they should not of sold their land. why should lebaon fight their fight? have we not sufferd enough at the hands of syrians?

    March 12, 2008

  • Sami

    I just seen this comment William:"a threat to you"?Have no fear William, we are not attacking our fellow Lebanese, we will only attack those who collaborate with our enemy, is that YOU??

    March 11, 2008

  • Sami

    Who is uneducated, William?If you are anti Israeli makes you uneducated but a traitor to your country in cooperating with the enemy makes you educated then be my guest,you may join the French collaberators during the German ccupation.Call the French resistance as uneducated.

    March 11, 2008

  • Sami

    Confused, tell us facts, not accusations, give us numbers and dates and places, you give us none, but we give you Deir Yaseen, and Kana one and Kana two.I need not educate myself when thinking of Jewish attrocities in Al Aksa Mosque when 22 were killed by a Jew, how many did we kill in what Synagogue in what country?The Jews ran from Hitler to kill the Palastinians, simple and clear no other facts available.

    March 11, 2008

  • Sami

    Mr. Concerned and still confused, You sill did not tell us as to how many Jews the Arabs killed in Iraq, Syria,morrocoo etc.One, two or three but i can tellyou that they killed 1550 civilians in 2006 war with 32% of them being children.The Jews came to us from Europ ,we did not go to them to kill them,please educate yourself as to the plight of the 4 million Palastinians still living in the diasphora because of the Eyropean/Arabic Jews.You are Equating Harrasement of Jews in the Arabic world to the killing of Arabs by Jews in Palastine, thats not the same , get real.

    March 10, 2008

  • will

    To the Islamic radical and hezbollah mouthpiece here... aka Sami... Go spread your hate and ignorance on al-manar website... this website is for educated and enlightened individuals who see you and your tribe as the ultimate threat and not the Jewish people....

    March 10, 2008

  • Concerned

    Dear Sami: I am not confused i am just concerned. If you think the Arab-Jewish fight that broke in the twentieth century went without casualties to jews in the Arab world then you are wrong. Try educating yourself about the Arab-Israeli conflict and what happened to the other side rather than brainwashing yourself into believing that Jews are-were aggressors all the time and that all the victims were Arabs. Try for example to search what happened to the Jewish community of Hebron in 1920's or how Iraqi jews were treated or what the mobs in Libya did to the Jewish community......... you will be surprised. Time for peace Sami not for religious hallucinations.

    March 10, 2008

  • Mary

    The fact that there are so many religions in our world doesn't mean we have to kill and hate each other. Instead, we should learn to accept each other and respect them for their beliefs, we may critisize or argue because of certain things, but we should always remember that, in the end of the day, we are but human beings! Most of us follow one God, but worship him in different ways, others have their own Gods and worship them in their own way!!! That shouldn't be a barrier for us to love each other and live together in ONE PEACEFUL world. We really should get our act together and open our eyes and see what's really going on here!

    March 10, 2008

  • Corey

    This article was cross posted on GNblog. Since there is so much misunderstanding between Israelis and the Arab world, I wanted to cross post my comment if there is anyone who finds it interesting: I am an Israeli citizen. I am actually of European ancestry but I am married to an Arab Jew, have always lived and worked with them, have lots of extended family who is Yeminite, Kurdish, Moroccan, Syrian, Iraqi, etc. In the Arab world, there seems to be a way of viewing Arab Jews and then there are how Arab Jews in Israel define themselves; the two don’t really match. As a generalization, Israelis whose origins are from Arab countries tend to vote for the right wing (Ariel Sharon and Likud) and are more supportive of going to war when we feel we have been attacked, they tend to claim mistrust of other Arabs -actually they claim they are not Arabs at all, they are Mizrachi (easterners) Jews and 100% Israeli. Yet at the same time, they hold on to their Arab cultures from generations a

    March 8, 2008

  • Sami

    Mr. Concerned/Confused, You tell us that we confiscated the Jews properties but you dont tell us that the Jews of Israel stole the Palastinians properties and occuppied and still occupie their land and still kill their children.Please tell us how many Jews did we kill in the Arabic world in retaliation for the palastinians killied.No ,Hizeb does not hate Jews, they hate those Jews who kill their children.Please unconfuse yourself.

    March 8, 2008

  • will

    Some folks here are to be commended for their comments while a few just shoot venom and hate... Judaism is a religion... Jews of various "nationalities" can sypathize and also support their fellow jews in the state of Israel... Muslims worldwide band together on many issues and no one finds them guilty of a "crime"... And so do many other religious and ethnic communities worldwide... However, tolerance for jews and christians in predominantly muslim arab countries is not something they should be proud of... And for some "imbecile" to claim that Lebanese jews left on their own or that two US citizens were executed for betraying their homeland and mostly because of their jewish faith, is a distortion of the truth... Jonathan Pollard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Pollard) is a jewish american who spied for Israel and is serving a life term for his action... And I should add that countless Lebanese immigrants and their descendents served and serve in the military of

    March 8, 2008

  • halawa al bayrouti

    a fair and balanced story

    March 8, 2008

  • Concerned

    What is done is done. We all wish we can go back in history and remedy the consequences of our ill doings as unwise human beings. We all forget or no body cares to highlight or many work hard to hide the fact that in the 40's of the twentieth century Jews and Arabs had a big fight over "Palestine-Israel" and that 650,000 Palestinians left into the Arab countries as refugees and so many Palestinian villages destroyed; at the same time 900,000 Jews left the Arab countries from Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and Morocco and their property destroyed or confiscated. Those Jews ceased to be refugees where as most Palestinians remained. Jews will not come back actively into their original communities in the Arab countries; there is still hate producing machines that demonizes them and legalize killing them. Just listen to Hezbollah, Hamas and others rhetoric. When you can hear courageous voices rejecting such rhetoric in public then you can expect peace to prevail

    March 8, 2008

  • Sami

    Why did they leave?And why did they go to Israel?did they not join the Israeli army and killed the Lebanese children?Dont tell me that no Lebanese Jew ever served in the Israeli army.I never heard of an incident that suggested we chased them away, killed them or imprisoned them.I heard of the master spy Syrian Jew Coheen who was hung to death, but can you blame Syria?Even the Usa excuted 2 Jews (Jules Rosenburg and his wife)for spying for the USSR.Please anyone tell me i am misinforming you.

    March 7, 2008

  • Daria Brasseler

    What an interresting article.!! it brings back my teen age time to me, when we used to go to parties with children from different religions. i lived in rue clemenceau, and went to finish my studies at the sisters of besancon just at the beginning of wadi abu jmeel, and girls from jewish families were in my class and believe me there was no difference between us.! we were all friends. And we were sorry when many of them left. i am in contact with only 2 of them. how sad I would like to visit Liza when i am back and tell her that she is a better lebanese than many.

    March 7, 2008

  • July

    The Jews of Lebanon are shunned because they are "accused" of inevitably sympathizing with Israel. So following that same logic, we should also Shun 99% of the Shiites who are pro-HA and hence sympathize with Iran over their own country and compatriots Come to think of it, the Shiite Lebanese attracted harm to Lebanon far more than an Jewish Lebanese. So cut the nonsense and get these people back to their rightful land. They were here long before the Arabs, Muslims, and Shiites.

    March 7, 2008

  • will

    http://thejewsoflebanon.org/ ... An informative website on thw Jewish community of Lebanon...

    March 7, 2008

  • J

    Thank you for a timely and thoughtful article!

    March 7, 2008

  • nina

    interesting indeed. when r we going to learn to accept each others ? aren't we all children of God?

    March 7, 2008

  • RazmiG

    We want them back we want jews of leabnon back to leb as me , i dont have any problem with them we are brothers in this world :)

    March 7, 2008

  • Abou Rami

    I don't know much about jews, but I've never seen them dancing and celebrating in the street after a massacre perpetrated by their own army... Do not become a monster in order to defeat a monster...

    March 7, 2008

  • omar

    awesome article. how can we support her?

    March 7, 2008

  • Anthony

    We will never see peace in our region untill we recognize the fact that Muslims, Christians & Jews are children of Abraham. We are thus diverse bothers and sisters of the same family.

    March 7, 2008