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After American forces entered Baghdad in May 2003, the head of the Jewish and Israel section of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat (intelligence agency) told of Jewish archives hidden in the basement of the Mukhabarat headquarters. The basement was flooded, but over four weeks we rescued books, papers, and other materials. Finally, American archival restorers arrived and took possession of the archive in June 2003. The materials were flown to Texas where they were vacuum-freeze-dried, and in fall 2003 they were brought to the National Archives. In 2011, the State Department kicked in over $3 million for stabilizing, digitizing, and packing the material. The U.S. National Archives is readying an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts due to open on Oct. 11. Appallingly, the U.S. government has agreed to then return the Iraqi Jewish archives - including holy books - to Iraq, which systematically expelled its Jewish community, by June 2014.

After Israel became a state in 1948, martial law was declared in Iraq and many Jews left in the mass exodus in 1950-51. Almost all of those who remained behind left by the 1970s. They were allowed one suitcase with clothing and were forced to leave everything else behind. Do the Iraqi authorities have the right to demand the archives back? The Iraqi government “acquired” this material by stealing it from the Jewish community.

The stolen property must be returned to its original owners - according to international law. Today, about 85% of the Iraqi Jews and their descendants live in Israel. These people are the rightful owners of the Iraqi Jewish archives, not the Iraqi government, which has never taken responsibility for Iraq’s role in destroying the more than 2,500-year-old Jewish community. The most logical place for the material is the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center outside of Tel Aviv, the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of Iraqi Jewry


(The above is a news release.)

One only has to look around to realize the state Islam is in; it is practically at war in every corner of the world. Though, Islam was a tolerant religion during the golden age of Spain, the dominating forces in Islamic world today have returned to its violent and unkind ways, characteristic to its inception. They destroy Buddhists monuments in central Asia, bomb Christian churches in the Middle East and even turn against each other, killing hundreds.

The Babylonian Jews were in the area, known now as Iraq, centuries before the Arabs arrived. The once powerful Jewish community put the Bible together for the first time in history, created the Babylonian Talmud, kept the teachings of the Kabblah and established the very first bank in the world. They were highly educated, enlightened and religious Jews who prayed persistently for the coming of the Messiah, the establishment of G-D’s government on earth, which would bring heaven on earth for the all the nations of the world. In other words, they prayed for complete salvation for everyone. The Holy books they used carry their hopes and prayers. They are powerful books and any additional harm done to them will not benefit to the aggressors.



You can view these short videos.        IJA Imaging Lab       IJA Conservation Laboratory       IJA exhibit video

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