Rabbi Sassoon Khadourie, Chief Rabbi of Iraq, Dies at 91

Chief Rabbi Sassoon Khadourie, of Iraq, died in Baghdad yesterday at the age of 91, according to information reaching here today. He was the spiritual leader of a Jewish community that had dwindled to 3,000 from 150,000 during the 23 years since the establishment of Israel. Khadourie was born in Baghdad and served as Chief Rabbi of Iraq since 1932. In recent years he had spoken out in defense of the Baathist regime and against Zionism, claiming that discriminatory treatment of Iraqi Jews ended when the present regime took office. But his public statements were made under the watchful eyes of Iraqi officials who provided Western newsmen with approved translations. The feeling among knowledgeable observers was that the aged rabbi was being cruelly exploited by Iraqi authorities for propaganda purposes. In his last statement to the press on April 23 he denounced “Zionist and imperialist propaganda directed against Iraq.”

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