Alliance Israélite Universelle

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Symbol of Alliance Israelite Universelle, synagogue of Mikveh Yisrael
Entrance to the seat of the Société d'histoire des Juifs de Tunisie and the Alliance israélite universelle in Paris.

The Alliance israélite universelle (Hebrew: כל ישראל חברים‎) is a Paris-based international Jewish organization founded in 1860 by the French statesman Adolphe Crémieux to safeguard the human rights of Jews around the world. The organization promotes the ideals of Jewish self-defense and self-sufficiency through education and professional development.

The motto of the organization is the Jewish rabbinic injunction Kol yisrael arevim ze laze (כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה), translated into French as Tous les israélites sont solidaires les uns des autres ("All Jews bear responsibility for one another"). [1]

History[edit]

Adolphe Crémieux, founder of the Alliance

In 1860, Alliance Israelite Universelle embarked on a "mission civilisatrice" to advance the Jews of the Middle East through French education and culture.[2] It was founded in Paris,[3] and opened its first school in Tetouan, Morocco in 1862.[4] The original members of the society were Jews, and by far the largest number of its members belong to that faith, but the association has enjoyed at all times the sympathy and cooperation of many prominent Christians. As outlined in its prospectus, the program of the society included the emancipation of the Jews from oppressive and discriminating laws, political disabilities, and defense of them in those countries where they were subjected to persecution.[3]

For the attainment of its objectives, the society proposed to carry on a campaign of education through the press and by the publication of works on the history and life of the Jews. In the beginning, however, the course of action adopted by the society for bringing relief to their oppressed brethren in other countries was to secure the intercession of friendly governments in their behalf. Thus, as early as 1867 the governments of France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands made the renewal of existing treaties with Switzerland conditional upon that country's granting full civil and political rights to the Jews. In 1878, representatives of the Alliance laid the condition of the Jews in the Balkan Peninsula before the Congress of Berlin, as a result of which the Treaty of Berlin stipulated that in Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria no discrimination should be made against any religion in the distribution of civil rights.[3]

Later, the activity of the Alliance became more educational than political, and the chief problem with which it was occupied at the beginning of the 20th century was the improvement of the condition of the Jews in the orient.[3] In 1870, Charles Netter, a founding member of Alliance israélite universelle, received a tract of land from the Ottoman Empire as a gift and opened the Mikveh Israel agricultural school, the first of a network of Jewish schools in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. Over 60 Alliance schools operated in the Ottoman Middle East, Iran and North Africa, providing Jewish children from poor families with formal elementary school and vocational training. Many of the teachers were educated at Alliance teacher training schools in Turkey and France.[5]

By 1900, Alliance Israelite Universelle was operating 100 schools with a combined student population of 26,000. Its greatest efforts were concentrated in Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.[4]

Schools in Israel[edit]

Alliance girls school in Jerusalem, 1935

Alliance israélite universelle continues to operate dozens of schools and educational programs in Israel today. Historic schools include the Alliance High School in Tel Aviv, Alliance israélite universelle High School in Haifa, René Cassin High School and the Braunshweig Conservative High School in Jerusalem. The network also includes the School for the Deaf in Jerusalem, in which deaf students, Jews and Arabs, with various mental and physical disabilities study together. The Mikve Israel Youth Village operates a state high school, a state-religious high school specializing in life and natural sciences, environmental sciences, and biotechnology; and a French-Israeli high school established in 2007 as a joint initiative of the Israeli and French governments.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ktziya Aviali-Tevivian, Voyage vers le passé: un nouveau monde est né-le XIXe siècle, Ed. Matah techn, 2003.
  • André Chouraqui, L'Alliance israélite universelle et la Renaissance juive contemporaine, 1860-1960, P.U.F., 1965.
  • Matia Kam, Mikvé-Israël, Ed. Matah techn. Fonds Avi Haï.
  • André Kaspi, Histoire de l'Alliance israélite universelle - De 1860 à nos jours, Ed. Armand Colin, 2010.
  • Narcisse Leven, Cinquante ans d’histoire: l’Alliance israélite universelle (1860-1910), Paris, 1911.
  • Aharon Rodrigues, Éducation, société et histoire: L'Alliance israélite universelle, Ed. Institut Yad Ben-Zvi, 1991.

External links[edit]