Powerful Shi’ite cleric: Jews can return to Iraq if they show loyalty

Powerful Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr welcomed the return of Iraqi Jews who were expelled from the country shortly after the establishment of Israel on condition they show loyalty. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Muqtada Al-Sadr, spiritual head of a government coalition that was formed after the Iraqi elections last month, said that expatriate Iraqi Jews were welcome to return to the country on condition they showed loyalty to the country.

Answering a question from one of his supporters about the possibility of allowing Iraqi Jews who had been displaced from Iraq to return, Al-Sadr, 44, said, “If their loyalty is to Iraq, then welcome.”

In May 2018, al-Sadr’s coalition of secularists and Communists, “Alliance Toward Reforms,” Saairoon in Arabic, emerged as the frontrunner in Iraq’s national elections, the first since the Islamic State was declared defeated in Iraq.

Iran is supposedly opposed to al-Sadr’s coalition. Supporters of this claim point to the senior Iranian politician, Ali Akbar Velayati, who during a visit to Iraq said that “we will not allow liberals and communists to govern in Iraq.”

Al-Sadr has purportedly contacted sources in the US with the goal of fostering cooperation.

The 2003 US invasion of Iraq led to conflicts between Sadr’s Mahdi army with American troops.

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Despite their past enmity, Washington and Sadr are supposedly opposed to Iran’s influence in Iraq.

Around 150,000 Jews lived in Iraq — largely in Baghdad — in 1947, the year before Israel’s establishment.

Between 1950 and 1951, the Iraqi government adopted policies that forced out the Jews of Iraq in the hope that the mass immigration to Israel would destabilize or even topple the nascent Jewish state. The Jews of Iraq lost much of their property, but the influx on tens of thousands of immigrants to Israel ultimately strengthened the Jewish state.

There was a further wave of emigration following the 1967 Six-Day War, and the Jewish population of Iraq is now estimated to total less than 10 people.