Will Iraq Allow its Median Jews to Depart for Israel?

There are one million Median Jews (Yezidis, Yarsanis, Alevis and Bektashis) in Iraq, many of whom live outside of the jurisdiction of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In addition are there still 3 000 Mandaeans who are pre-Israelite Sumerian Jews. The question is will the Iraqi government let them all leave for Israel once Israel opens the gates for Median Jewish immigration? The answer is complicated. The short answer is no. Those Iraqi Median Jews who live outside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) will be able to travel to the KRI and from there take flights to Europe and from Europe take connecting flights to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. They will be able to make their full prior travel arrangements in the KRI without being delayed in Europe. This will not be possible from Baghdad. Another question is will most Median Jews want to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel? The answer is yes, once their religious leaders affirm that they are Jewish and the Israeli government affirms this is as well. Furthermore, Iraq is an impoverished country and immigrating to affluent Israel is highly economically attractive for virtually all Median Jews of Iraq.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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