Iraqi Jews:

The BBC has a story on Iraqi Jews living in Israel, who remember their former homeland with fondness. My wife is of Iraqi descent, and I think it's fair to say that both of her parents enjoyed life in Iraq, especially her mother, who was from a very wealthy and prominent family (Khalaschy, which can be spelled many different ways in English). Life in Israel, by contrast, was very hard when Iraqi Jews were forced to emigrate around 1950, made worse by the incompetence and ignorance of Israeli authorities. (Well, at least they weren't herded into refugee camps and denied citizenship rights to serve as a political tool for the next sixty years). My father-in-law certainly misses Arabic culture, as witnessed by his new satellite t.v. system which gets 300(!) Arab-language channels.

But as with Jewish refugees from Germany in the 1930s who longed for their homeland, the Iraqi Jewish experience was not always as happy as it seemed in retrospect. My wife's great-grandfather was killed by an anti-Semitic gang in the late 1930s, on his way to synagogue on Friday night. The gang had apparently resolved to kill the first Jew who showed up to services. Not to mention the widespread anti-Jewish agitation and violence that greeted the establishment of the State of Israel. Perhaps not surprisingly, the BBC story is rather light on such details.

Thanks to Honest Reporting for the pointer.