1947 Manama riots

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In the wake of the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, a riot against the Jewish community of Manama, in the British Protectorate of Bahrain, on December 5, 1947.[1] A mob of Iranian and Trucial States sailors ran through the Manama Souq[2] looted Jewish homes and shops, and destroyed the synagogue.[citation needed] One Jewish woman died; she was either killed or died from fright.[3]

Background[edit]

Bahrain's tiny Jewish community, mostly the Jewish descendants of immigrants who entered the country in the early 1900s from Iraq, numbered 600 in 1948.

The riots[edit]

In the wake of the November 29, 1947 U.N. Partition vote, demonstrations against the vote in the Arab world were called for December 2–5. The first two days of demonstrations in Bahrain saw rock throwing against Jews, but on December 5, mobs in the capital of Manama looted Jewish homes and shops in the city's Jewish district (Al-Mutanabi Road).[4] The riots led to the sacking of the only synagogue in Bahrain, and had resulted in the death of an elderly woman[1] and scores of Jews injured. Local Jews blamed the riots on foreign Arabs.[4]

Jewish exodus from Bahrain[edit]

After the riots, Bahraini Jews left en masse, some emigrating to Israel, others to England or America.[4] They were allowed to leave with their property, although they were forced to give up their citizenship.[4] An estimated 500 to 600 Jews remained in Bahrain until riots broke out after the Six Day War in 1967;[4] as of 2006 only 36 remained.[5]

Objecting views on Bahraini state responsibility[edit]

Houda Nonoo told The Independent newspaper: "I don't think it was Bahrainis who were responsible. It was people from abroad. Many Bahrainis looked after Jews in their houses." This view is supported by Sir Charles Belgrave, formerly a political adviser to the government of Bahrain – which at the time was subject to treaty relations with Britain – who recalled in a memoir: "The leading Arabs were very shocked ... most of them, when possible, had given shelter and protection to their Jewish neighbours... [the riots] had one surprising effect; it put an end to any active aggression by the Bahrain Arabs against the Bahrain Jews."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stillman, 2003, p. 147.
  2. ^ Joyce, Miriam (2012), Bahrain from the Twentieth Century to the Arab Spring, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 7–8, ISBN 9781137031792, ""On December 4, 1947, a large mob, composed largely of Iranian and Trucial Coast sailors, ran through the Bahraini suq (shopping area), charging into Jewish homes and shops. The mob smashed furniture, and during the riot “one Jewish woman was either killed, or died from fright.”" 
  3. ^ Joyce 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e "THE UNLIKELY EMISSARY: HOUDA NONOO". Moment Magazine. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Larry Luxner, Life’s good for Jews of Bahrain — as long as they don’t visit Israel, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 18, 2006. Accessed 25 October 2006.
  6. ^ independent.co.uk (2 November 2007). "Low profile but welcome: a Jewish outpost in the Gulf. By Donald Macintyre, 2 November 2007". The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.