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The Divergence of Judaism and IslamInterdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil$
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Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037516

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037516.001.0001

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In Search of Jewish Farmers: Jews, Agriculture, and the Land in Rural Morocco

In Search of Jewish Farmers: Jews, Agriculture, and the Land in Rural Morocco

(p.143) 8 In Search of Jewish Farmers: Jews, Agriculture, and the Land in Rural Morocco
The Divergence of Judaism and Islam

Daniel J. Schroeter

University Press of Florida

This chapter connects with the preceding chapter on Jewish-Muslim life in rural Yemen. Although both studies describe tribally situated Jewish societies destined for dissolution through immigration, this “Moroccan chapter” centers on a country that was dominated by a French colonial administration. For many decades it was reported by different people—Israeli immigration emissaries of the Jewish Agency, foreign travelers, and officials of the colonial administration—that major pockets of Jewish farmers existed throughout rural Morocco. This social-historical study challenges what may now be regarded as no more than a myth. Certainly, small groups of agricultural Jews could be found in the central High Atlas Mountains and elsewhere in the country, but no more than that. In fact, the majority of Morocco's Jews were petty merchants and artisans, a fact that Jews regarded as a mark of distinction from, if not superiority over, the vast majority of Moroccan Muslims, for whom agriculture was the principal livelihood. Many years after the resettlement of most Moroccan Jewry in Israel, older Muslims remembered this distinction.

Keywords:   Morocco, farmers, agriculture, Zionism, dhimmis, Atlas Mountains, landownership, aliyah

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