Arabs in North Africa Friendlier to Jews Than Ever Before, JTA Correspondent Finds

Relations between Jews and Arabs in Algeria are better than they ever were, it was learned by a special correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who arrived here to survey the position of the Jews in North Africa and the effects of the repeal of the Vichy anti-Jewish laws by the DeGaulle Government.

Although the Arabs of North Africa are becoming more and more anti-French, many of the Arabs in Algeria have come to disassociate the Jews from other Frenchmen as a result of the fact that during the time that Vichy controlled this area all Jews were called in and their passports were altered by substituting “Algerian Jew” for the term “French Citizen.” After the Allied landings in North Africa in November, 1942, the passports of Jewish French citizens were changed again, but the period of anti-Jewish discrimination seems to have improved rather than worsened the attitude of the Arabs here towards their Jewish neighbors.

It is because of the fact that the Arabs in Algeria consider themselves a persecuted subject people and have come to have a friendlier regard toward the North African Jews; that in the recent disturbances in which Moslem natives killed approximately 100 so-called Europeans, they did not attack the Jews. In the riots of 1935 the Arabs committed many atrocities against Jews in the province of Constantine. At that time they sought out the Jews particularly in the course of a general outbreak against Europeans. It is noteworthy that this time Jewish communities were left untcuched.

The general situation of the Jews in Algeria is gradually improving. The property rights they lost under the Vichy regime have slowly been restored. But once a person has been dispossessed of these rights, it is a difficult and tedious process to regain them. The Jews in Algeria are, therefore, not certain as to whether the feeling of intolerance and bigotry that was implanted by the Vichy regime among officials in North Africa has completely disappeared.

NEXT STORY