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Mordechai Zaken also Moti Zaken (Hebrew: מוטי/מרדכי זקן; Arabic: مردخاي زاكين), born 1958 in Jerusalem, is an expert on the Kurds and Middle Eastern minorities, both by academic training – he is historian of the Jews, the Kurds and the Assyrian Christians in Kurdistan, and by professional practice. He served as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advisor on Israeli Arabs and minorities during his first term (1997–1999), and has been serving as advisor in the Ministry of Public Security from 2001.
- 1 Education and Expertise
- 2 New Oral History sources on the Jews of Kurdistan
- 3 Prime Minister's Advisor on Arabs & Minorities Affairs
- 4 Director of (ISFI, Institute of Students and Faculty on Israel)in New York
- 5 Journalism, Media and Public Speaking
- 6 Publications
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Education and Expertise
He earned his BA (Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies), MA, Cum Laude, and PhD (2003), in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He studied as well in the US in both SUNY Binghamton and New York University (1987-1990). Among his influential teachers were Moshe Sharon, Benjamin Z. Kedar and the late semitic linguist Gideon Goldenberg, with whom he published the Book of Ruth in Neo-Aramaic. He published another Neo-Aramaic text in a book honoring Goldenberg's jubilee.
New Oral History sources on the Jews of Kurdistan
The severe dearth of written and archival sources on Kurdistan, drove him to initiate oral history fieldwork research. He conducted altogether hundreds of one-on-one oral history interviews with more than sixty Kurdish Jewish informants, thus saving their memories from being lost forever. This study forms a new set of historical records and was commended. His book on the Jews and the tribal Kurdish society has received wide attention and has been translated into Arabic  and Kurdish, in both Sorani and Kurmanji, as well as Persian and French.
Founding the Israeli-Kurdistan Friendship league
In 1993, he founded the Israeli-Kurdistan Friendship League, possibly the first friendship association between Jews and any community in the Arab states, together with Moshe Zaken and Meir Baruch, Michael Niebur and Mathew B. Hand, the last two with whom he edited the newsletter Yedidut[https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:YEDIDUT_Israeli-Kurdistan_Friendship-League_1993.pdf (Hebrew, "Friendship").In 1994 he visited the Kurdish centers in London and met with exiled leaders and wrote about it. In October 2012 He visited Kurdistan at the invitation of the World Kurdish Forum and in October 2013 participated and delivered a presentation for this forum that was held in Stockholm, Sweden.
Prime Minister's Advisor on Arabs & Minorities Affairs
Expertise in the Arab Minorities in Israel
From 1997 when he became the Prime Minister adviser on Arab affairs onwards he became involved in many different events and developments that took place within Israel in regards to the complex relations between the State and the Arab minorities. He has created working and mutual relations with many local leaders and mayors of Arab and Beduin communities in Israel and in 2016 created a new forum for dialogue with the participants of local mayors and Moshe Arens, a former Minister of Defence, and a known advocate of the enhancement of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. He also speaks and interviewed on these subjects.
Founding the Government-Christian Forum
As the advisor on Israeli Arabs and minorities affairs to both the Israeli Prime Minister and the Ministry of Public Security, Mordechai Zaken maintained close contact with leaders of religious and ethnic minorities and has been standing up against hate crimes. In 2013 He initiated rogether with other high ranking official in the Israeli government and \christian leaders and colleagues the Government – Christians Forum that addresses the concerns of the Christian community vis a vis the government. Two of the prominent leaders in the side of the Christians helping in establishing this forum have been Rev. Charles (Chuck) Kopp, of the Baptist Church in Jerusalem and Rev. David Pillegi, Rector of the Christ Church located inside Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.
The dispute between Muslims and Christians in Nazareth
He was the coordinator of the Ministerial Committee set to resolve the dispute between Muslims and Christians in Nazareth, re. a dispute near the Basilica of the Annunciation. The daily presence of Muslim activists around the outdoor, small, closed, old mosque, known as "Shihab al-Din," became an obstacle for the plan to built an open plaza that was to be prepared for the historical visit of the Pope John Paul II in the year 2000. He constructed the final draft for the cabinet resolution, which was used by the State Attorney in the Supreme Court to repel the appeal against the government, in the years 2001-2003.
Director of (ISFI, Institute of Students and Faculty on Israel)in New York
Moti Zaken served as the last National Director of ISFI, or "The Institute of Students and Faculty on Israel," in New York, an organization under the auspices of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Consulate in New York City (1989 -1991). is a flyer distributed by ISFI in universities during the late 1980s and early 1990s ISFI provided political and cultural resources, ideas and tools, for Jewish and pro-Israel student activists throughout the US and Canada, through which Israeli oriented activities and the message of Israel could be promoted in US campuses."ISRAEL ACTIVIST CALENDAR" was originated by ISFI leaders and activists to promote Israeli oriented activities in campuses and in communities in the US
Journalism, Media and Public Speaking
In 1982, as Chief-Editor of the students' newspaper at the Hebrew University "Pi-Ha'aton" (Heb., פי האתון "The donkey's mouth," taken from the Book of Numbers, 22:28), one of his main journalistic achievements was the unearthing of an old photograph from 1948, taken by Arabs and showing mutilated faces and bodies of Jewish soldiers that were part of an army unit that later became known as "Nabi Daniel Caravan; Heb., שיירת נבי דניאל." He published the photograph and the story behind its discovery in a special Independence Day Edition, on 26 April 1982. He was also the Co-Chief editor of "Tipul Shoresh" (Heb.,root canal treatment) an annual newspaper of the public activists' program at the Hebrew University, the circulation of which was stopped by the directors and university administration, due to its critical approach towards the university policy regarding social issues.As a scholar, Dr. Zaken has been a frequent guest in radio and TV programs, speaking mostly on the Kurds and the minorities in the Middle East, and has been interviewed by newspapers as an expert on these subjects.an article in Germany about the minorities in Israel]      He also speaks in public on these topics.radio interview radio interviewradio interviewradio interviewradio interview radio interview       
Thesis (Ph.D.), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2003
- "Tribal Chieftains and their Jewish Subjects in Kurdistan: A Comparative Study in Survival," PhD dissertation, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2003.
Books (including translations)
- Jews of Kurdistan & Their tribal Chieftains: A study in survival," by Mordechai (Moti) Zaken, 2nd and Revised EBook Edition, "(Jerusalem:2015).
- Jewish Subjects and their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival, in Jewish Identities in a Changing World, vol. 9 (Leiden and Boston): Brill, 2007. (Review of the book)
- Arabic translation: Yahud Kurdistan wa-ru'as'uhum al-qabaliyun: Dirasa fi fan al-baqa'. Transl., Su'ad M. Khader; Published by the Academic Center for Research, Beirut, 2013; يهود كردستان ورؤساؤهم القبليون : (دراسة في فن البقاء) / تأليف مردخاي زاكن ؛ ترجمة عن الانكليزية سعاد محمد خضر; بيروت, 2013 : المركز الأكاديمي للأبحاث.
- Sorani translation: D. Mordixai Zakin, Gulekekany Kurdistan, Sulaimaniyya and Arbil: 2015.
- Kurmanji translation of one part of the book: "Jews, Kurds and Arabs, between 1941 and 1952", by Dr. Amr Taher Ahmed Metîn n° 148, October 2006, p. 98-123.
- French translation of one part of the book: "Juifs, Kurdes et Arabes, entre 1941 et 1952," Errance et Terre promise: Juifs, Kurdes, Assyro-Chaldéens, etudes kurdes, revue semestrielle de recherches, 2005: 7-43, translated by Sandrine Alexie.
Selected lectures or conference participation
- The third World Kurdish Scientific Congress, Stockholm, October 11–13, 2013.
- The Second World Kurdish Scientific Congress, Erbil, Kurdistan, October 11–15, 2012.
- Keynote Speech; "Genocide, Minorities and Memories", Symposium and Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 22 April 2012.
- "Jews, Kurds and Palestinians", address to the German Parliament in Berlin, 22 October 2010.
- The Lost from the Land of Ashur – the migrations from Kurdistan and the settlement in Eretz-Israel, in A. Mizrahi and A. Ben-David, eds., The Tribes – Evidence of Israel, Exile, Immigrations, Absorption, Contribution and Integration, 2001: 340-373, Hebrew.
- Inventors’ Fate" A Folk-Tale in the Neo-Aramaic of Zakho, in M. Bar-Asher (ed.), Massorot: Studies in Language Traditions and Jewish Languages, vols. 9, 10, 11 (1997): 383-395, Hebrew.
- The Book of Ruth in Neo-Aramaic, by Gideon Goldenberg and Mordechai Zaken, in W. Heinrichs (Ed.), Studies in Neo-Aramaic, Cambridge: Harvard Semitic Studies Series (1990): 151-157.
- His research was quoted and referred to by many scholars who deal with different subjects touched upon by Zaken. See for instance the following publications: Nader Entessar, Kurdish politics in the MIDDLE East, Lexington books, 2009:213; MICHAEL FISCBACH, Jewish PROPERTY CLAIMS AGAINST ARAB COUNTRIES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESSS, 2010: 215, 355; Oman Tax Guide, Lulu.com, 2015:79-80.
- "Professor Moshe Sharon".
- "The Book of Ruth in Neo-Aramaic," [By] G. Goldenberg and M. Zaken, in W. Heinrichs (Ed.), Studies in Neo-Aramaic, Cambridge: Harvard Semitic Studies Series(1990): 151-157.
- "Inventors’ Fate" A Folk-Tale in the Neo-Aramaic of Zakho," in M. Bar-Asher (ed.), Massorot: Studies in Language Traditions and Jewish Languages, vols. 9, 10, 11 (1997): 383-395 [Heb.]
- The Jews of Kurdistan & their Tribal Chieftains: A Study in Survival, by Mordechai (Moti) Zaken (Jerusalem, 2015), Rev. & 2nd EBook edition; Jewish Subjects and their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival, in Jewish Identities in a Changing World, vol. 9 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007; The book has recently published into Arabic by the Center for Academic Research in Beirut, 2013. Its importance may be viewed in the introductions of the editors of the book. The translator into Arabic Dr. Suad M. Khader explains:“This book is considered an important contribution to both the Kurdish and the Arabic library…the translation of this kind of book is considered an important necessity… the author introduced an important picture of this era of Kurdistan.” Dr. Nasir al-Ka’bi, Director of the Center for Academic Research in Beirut wrote: “The major innovation of this study is the use of the verbal narrative (oral history) as it was clear that the other traditional and archival sources were not sufficient…”This study is distinct from other studies of the Jews of the Orient, as it concentrates on the nature of the relations of the Jews with their vicinities, namely the aghas and the masters; their relations with the authorities, the rulers and the leaders of the towns, which permits the political dimension, and their relations with the Muslims, including the religious dimension…"
- ...the study is very detailed and provides much hitherto unknown information on Kurdish Jews and their relations with their Muslim neighbors... according to Rachel Simon of Princeton University, at the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter, May/June 2008, Volume XXVII, No. 4 (PDF)
- "Rev., 2nd. New eBOOK Ed.: Jews of Kurdistan & their Chieftains, By Mordechai (Moti) Zaken, 2015".
- "Jewish subjects and their tribal chieftains in Kurdistan : a study in survival".
- "Rev., 2nd. New eBOOK Ed.: Jews of Kurdistan & their Chieftains, By Mordechai (Moti) Zaken, 2015: Review of M. Zaken's PhD Thesis by Prof. Moshe Sharon, Director of the Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae, the Hebrew University".
- "Amazon.com: Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan (Jewish Identities in a Changing World) (9789004161900): Mordechai Zaken: Books".
- The PhD committee was composed by Prof. Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University, Prof. Joyce Blau previously of INALCO, Paris, and Prof. Yona Sabar of UCLA
- Yahud Kurdistan wa-ru'as'uhum al-qabaliyun: Dirasa fi fan al-baqa'. Transl., Su'ad M. Khader; Reviewers: Abd al-Fatah Ali Yihya and Farast Mir'i; Published by the Center for Academic Research, Beiruth, 2013; يهود كردستان ورؤساؤهم القبليون : (دراسة في فن البقاء) / تأليف مردخاي زاكن ؛ ترجمة عن الانكليزية سعاد محمد خضر ؛ مراجعة عبد الفتاح علي يحيى، فرست مرعي. زاكن، مردخاي، ١٩٥٨م-;خضر، سعاد محمد; بيروت, 2013: المركز الأكاديمي للأبحاث;
- D. MORDIXZI ZAKIN, CULEKEKANY KURDISTAN, ERBIL, 2015; French into Kurmanji translation of an article by Moti Zaken, "Jews, Kurds and Arabs, between 1941 and 1952", by Dr. Amr Taher Ahmed Metîn n° 148, October 2006, p. 98-123.
- Juifs, Kurdes et Arabes, entre 1941 et 1952, Errance et Terre promise: Juifs, Kurdes, Assyro-Chaldéens, études kurdes, revue semestrielle de recherches, 2005: 7-43, translated by Sandrine Alexie.
- IKN - Israel Kurdistan Network: Jews, Kurds and tribes
- "Israeli-Kurdish Friendship League".
- Turkey and the World: A Complete English Bibliography of Turkey and Turks, p. 174, at Google Books
- Eşref Günaydın , Yahudi Kürtler, Babil´in Kayıp Çocukları, 2003, p. 55.
- Israel Shahak (1997). Open Secrets: Israeli Foreign and Nuclear Policies. Pluto Press. p. 77.
- "عبدالله جاسم ريكاني".
- Türkiye Yeni Bir “SEVR”e Doğru Gidiyor
- Ofra Bengio. "Surprising Ties between Israel and the Kurds". Middle East Forum.
- Turkey and the World: A Complete English Bibliography of Turkey and Turks - Sedat Laçiner - Google ספרים
- "The Wandering Kurd," (Hebrew) Davar, 2 December 1994.
- al-akhbar (Nazareth, Arabic newspaper) 11 March, 2016, front page article.
- Raphael Israeli, Green Crescent Over Nazareth: The Displacement of Christians by Muslims in the Holy Land, London: Frank Cass & Co., 2014; first edition 2002: pp. 89, 100, 183,194.
- "Israeli Arabs Protest Demolition".
- "Israeli Arabs Protest Demolition of Homes". latimes.
- Michael R. Fischbach, Jewish property claims against Arab countries, Columbia University Press, 2013, P.205
- "Report on the Government Activities in the Non-Jewish Sector in 1997". Mfa.gov.il. Retrieved 2014-06-20.sikkuy report November 1997, following a summary of govrernment activities amongst the non-Jewish sector: is Bibi good for Arabs?
- "Christians, Israeli Jews Fight Persecution Together | Christian Coalition of America". Cc.org. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- "'Christians in Israel Must Be Treated with Respect'". Voice of Israel. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Jews, Non-Jews and Other Intra-Israeli Conflicts". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Government Official Visits Vandalized Church". Mezila.mops.gov.il. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Israeli Christians Condemn Acts Of Vandalism". Armeniandiaspora.com. 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- "Arabs Clash at Temple Mount | Sid Roth – It's Supernatural". Sid Roth. 2012-02-27. Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Iran Has Declared War Against Israel And The Jewish People!-News & Politics اخبار و سياست". Iranjoo. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Jerusalem News Network". Jnnnews.com. 2012-02-28. Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Sid Roth, a Christian Mesianic commentator, writes about Zaken the following, quoting from Psalms 16:3, "As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all My delight." Archived 2014-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
- http://www.outusenglish/news/pages/greek-orthoarson_3.15.aspx[permanent dead link]
- "Israeli gov. official in solidarity with vandalized church – Israel Today | Israel News". Israel Today. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- "Anti-Christian graffitti discovered". 24hourcampfire. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "NL 2012-03-01_Email NL Pages Template" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "IRANJOO: Iran Has Declared War Against Israel And The Jewish People!-News & Politics اخبار و سياست".
- al-Akhbar, 4 November 2015; al-akhbar, 11 November 2015.
- "Israel Steps Up Efforts to Protect Christian Community – Inside Israel – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 – CBN.com". mycbn.com. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Israel Steps Up Efforts to Protect Christian Community". cbn.com. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- A statement by Rev. Chuck Kopp of the Baptist Church in Jerusalem, to remain committed to his "growing involvement with government officials on improving relations with Christians and Government Relations Forum spearheaded by Dr. Mordechai Zaken, Head of Minority Affairs at the Ministry of Public Security; http://www.jerusalemcornerstone.org/news/february-2016
- Analysis: Arab-Israeli MKs of Joint List opting for conflict instead of cooperation | Observatorio Electoral
- "Christians, Israeli Jews Fight Persecution Together | Christian Coalition of America".
- "al-Akhbar", Arabic newspaper printed in Nazareth, writes extensively about the Forum, in its front page and page 5, on October 14, 2016
- Elaine Ruth Fletcher, SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER (23 April 1999). "Nazareth mosque plan splits Muslims, Christians". SFGate.
- "Israel Sets Forth Compromise Plan on Nazareth Mosque Dispute". The New York Times. 20 April 1999.
- "Missing Page Redirect".
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/MKs-unite-to-support-Kurdish-people-at-Knesset-515613; on the emנark of a Jewish-Israel-Kurdish lobby to support the Kurdish people at Knesset
- http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/reports/369146; Dr. Mordechai Zaken is quoted in an article in the Kurdish Media on the remaining houses of the Jews of Zakho, due to his expertise on the Jews of Kurdistan
- http://www.tribunejuive.info/communaute/au-kurdistan-irakien-la-difficile-renaissance-du-judaisme-22-par-ines-gil; Dr. Mordechai (Moti) Zaken is quoted in a French article about the controversial subject of the "so-called "Jewish renaissance in Kurdistan
- "Defense - 05/14/2016 - Replay : review news and other shows : All videos - i24news - See beyond". i24news.
- A conference on the Jews of Kurdistan, Ben-Zvi Institute for the study of Oriental Jewry, 15 October 2015
- מרכז דהאן – יהודי כורדיסטן: זהות ומורשת – ד"ר מוטי זקן – YouTube. 5 January 2015 – via YouTube.
- "Tehran seeks to overcome Western influence by supplying weapons to Kurds". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Dr Mordechai Zaken, Kurds and Kurdish Jews Hebrew Interview". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "Analysis: Arab-Israeli MKs of Joint List opting for conflict instead of cooperation".
- "Iran deal could lead to improved covert Arab-Israel cooperation". The Jerusalem Post – JPost.com.
- "So are there Jews in Kurdistan?". The Jerusalem Post – JPost.com.
- "The Jerusalem Post (JPost.com): "So are there Jews in Kurdistan?"". Newstral.
- "So are there Jews in Kurdistan?". One News Page.
- "So are there Jews in Kurdistan?".
- United Jerusalem - - Israel-News Today - 11/13/2015
- Dr Mordechai Zaken, Kurds and Kurdish Jews Hebrew Interview | SBS Your Language
- "Rev., 2nd. New eBOOK Ed.: Jews of Kurdistan & their Chieftains, By Mordechai (Moti) Zaken, 2015". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- Zaken, Mordechai (2013-01-01). يهود كردستان ورؤساؤهم القبليون: (دراسة في فن البقاء) (in Arabic). ISBN 9789953887555.
- "Kurdinberlin kurd in Berlin کورد له بهرلین". Kurdbe.de. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Kurdinberlin kurd in Berlin کورد له بهرلین".
- "PDS SSO".
- ספר היובל לגדעון גולדנברג at Google Books