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Our Foreign News Letter

October 17, 1924
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Interesting facts tending strongly to show that the Jews had an independent state in the Sahara regions of Africa in the Middle Ages have been disclosed recently by a number of eminent French scientists. The Echo de Paris, a strong Catholic paper, has devoted considerable space to this matter and caused renewed interest in the tales which have been current relative to this since the 9th century. Explorers who have spent years in the heart of Africa state that the language of certain African tribes contains words which are very obviously derived from or related to Hebrew. Thus a people named Ulimindin speak of God as Misbeach and define sin as Pesha. Among proper names used by them are, Daniel, Shamuel, Elihu, Yonas (Jonah). Another tribe calls itself Da-oo-Ishak-men of Isaac.

A French officer describing his experiences in Africa says that in Tamanraset he was shown a cave which is called by the people in that section Tioit-na-Elihu, meaning the cave of Elija. It is noteworthy that Monsieur Delafos, who is considered an authority on the subject of African tribes in the region of Senegal and the upper Niger, is firmly convinced that the Hebrew terms found among the Africans together with other evidence proves conclusively the existence of a Jewish state in Africa in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, his opinion is shared by the famous scientist and historian, Charles de la Roncier, who, on the special request of Puad, ruler of Egypt, made a study of the subject covering a period of many years.

These assertions of the scientists become more interesting when compared with the statement of a well known Arabian geographer of the 9th century, Ibn Chardadbeh, who stated that Jews formed a considerable part of the population on the African continent at that time. It would seem that these Jews lived in peace and prosperity, according to all accounts available. In 1447 an African explorer named Antoin Malfant wrote to a friend : “There are Jews in large numbers here and their life flows peacefully”, etc. The Jews excel in the art of devising geographical charts which were used by kings and explorers. Some of these charts have been preserved and are used to this day.

In connection with these remarkable discoveries it should be recalled that Eldad Ben Mahli Ha-Dani, a Jewish merchant and traveller of the 9th century, professed to be a citizen of a Jewish state in the eastern part of Africa. His fanciful accounts of this state given out to Jewish communities in Babylonia, Spain and elsewhere provoked a great deal of excited interest in those days, but he has been considered for the most part a clever fabricator. It may be that the discoveries made by modern scientists will prove that Ha-Dani’s stories, though colored by him, were not without foundation.


Announcement of the formation of a new club in the Business Men’s Council of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropies was made yesterday by S. Alex Schonbrunn.

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