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Jewish Officer Visits Community of Cave Dwelling Jews in Tripolitania

August 5, 1943
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A community of troglodyte Jews who live in caves in the Jabel Nefusa region of Tripolitania was described here today by a Jewish officer of the British Army who visited the cave dwellers while fighting in North Africa from where he has just returned.

These primitive Jews, who are believed to be descendants of refugees from Moorish persecution in the Middle Ages, have a synagogue built deep in the interior of a large cave where they worship, using ancient Jewish ritual, he disclosed. Up until about 100 years ago, the troglodyte Jews were held in captivity by Arab shieks and the officer revealed that it is still the custom for Jewish girls to serve for one year without pay in the household of a neighboring Arab.

Speaking to correspondents here, he reported that Jewish units had participated in the heaviest battles of the African campaign and had been commended by the Allied military authorities.

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