It Is To Be Hoped That A Better Day Is Dawning For North African Jews.
The Governments Of France And England Can Do Much For Them In Morocco.
The Jews of the Atlas formed the subject of some of Mr. Davidson's
literary labours; I have made further inquiries and shall give the
reader some account of them, adding that portion of Mr. Davidson's
information which was borne out by further investigation.
The Atlas Jews
are physically, if not morally, superior to their brethren who reside
among the Moors. They are dispersed over the Atlas ranges, and have all
the characteristics of mountaineers. They enjoy, like their neighbours,
the Berbers and Shelouhs, a species of quasi-independence of the
Imperial authority, but they usually attach themselves to certain Berber
chieftains who protect them, and whose standards they follow.
These are the only Jews in Mahometan countries of whom I have heard as
bearing arms. They have, however, their own Sheiks, to whose
jurisdiction all domestic matters are referred. They wear the same
attire as the mountaineers, and are not distinguishable from them, they
do not address the Moors by the term of respect and title "Sidi," but in
the same way as the Moors and Arabs when they accost each other. They
speak the Shelouh language.
Mr. Davidson mentions some curious circumstances about these Jews, and
of their having a city beyond the Atlas, where three or four thousand
are living in perfect freedom, and cultivating the soil, which they have
possessed since the time of Solomon.
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