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Morocco Reports To. U.N. on Jews Stresses Freedom of Religion

February 9, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Government of Morocco submitted a report to the United Nations on the status of the Jews in Morocco, stressing the fact that Jews are permitted to exercise their religion freely and that Jewish schools function without discrimination throughout the country.

The Moroccan report, which will be examined by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights when it meets in Geneva at the end of this month, recalls that Jews have lived in Morocco since the epoch following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. In that era, it is pointed out, Jews were quartered in special mellahs, or ghettoes, and their affairs were administered by “Jewish sheikhs.”

Tracing Jewish immigration into Morocco through the era following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the report declares that “Mosaic law” as applied by rabbinical tribunals has been permitted in Morocco for centuries. Observance of Jewish holidays is permitted. A special law in the penal code makes a punishable crime any defacement, desecration or defilement of religious edifices, monuments or objects sacred to any religion.

The fact that “there exists no discrimination in regard to education” is pointed up by the government, which declares that both Christian and Jewish schools operate freely throughout the land. The report also says that Jewish dietary practices–kasbrut–are encouraged and states that the government authorized a special tax to help maintain kosher slaughter.

Jewish communities, according to the report, administer their own affairs through special communal committees. Each committee of that type includes the local rabbi or president of the rabbinical tribunal “as well as a certain number of Jewish notables appointed by the Grand Vizir from a list presented by the co-religionists.” Rabbinical tribunals are made up of the Chief Rabbi and two “rabbinical Judges.” The report states there is also a High Rabbinical Court for hearing appeals from the lower Jewish courts.

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