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Have any Jews of Bilad El-Sudan communities migrated to Israel?

1 Answer

  • Shay p
    Lv 7
    5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't think so, Jews of the Bilad al-Sudan (אַהַל יַהוּדּ בִּלַדּ אַל סוּדָּן, Judeo-Arabic) describes West African Jewish communities who were connected to known Jewish communities from the Middle East, North Africa, or Spain and Portugal. Various historical records attest to their presence at one time in the Ghana, Mali, and Songhai empires, then called the Bilad as-Sudan from the Arabic meaning Land of the Blacks. Jews from Spain, Portugal, and Morocco in later years also formed communities off the coast of Senegal and on the Islands of Cape Verde. These communities continued to exist for hundreds of years but have since disappeared due to changing social conditions, migration, and the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.


    Jews of the Bilad el-Sudan (West Africa)

    According to the Muslim records the Tarikh el-Fettash (16th cent.) and the Tarikh el Soudan (17th cent.) there were several Jewish communities that existed as a part of the Ghana, Mali, and later Songhay empires. One such community was formed by a group of Egyptian Jews, who traveled by way of the Sahel corridor through Chad into Mali. Manuscript C of the Tarikh el-Fettash describes a community called the Bani Israeel that in 1402 CE existed in Tirdirma, possessed 333 wells, and had seven princes as well as an army.

    Another such community was that of the Zuwa ruler of Koukiya (located near the Niger river), whose name is only known as Zuwa Alyaman (meaning “He comes from Yemen”). According to local legends Zuwa Alyaman was a member of one of the Jewish communities transported from Yemen by the Abbysinians in the 6th century C.E. after the defeat of Dhu Nuwas. Zuwa Alyaman is said to have traveled into West Africa along with his brother, and eventually established a community in Kukiya near the Niger River. According to the Tarikh el-Soudan, there were 14 Zuwa rulers of Kukiya after Zuwa Alyaman before the rise of Islam in the region.

    Other sources say that other Jewish communities in the region were formed by migrations from Morocco, Egypt, Portugal, and possibly Gojjam, Ethiopia. Some communities are said to have been populated by certain Berber Jews like a group of Kal Tamasheq known as Iddao Ishaak that traveled from North Africa into West Africa for trade, as well as those escaping the Islamic invasions into North Africa.

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