Essaouira Mogador is a town at the Atlantic coast of Morocco

En langue française


The Jews

The Jewish population

When the Jews began to disperse throughout the Roman empire after the dissolution of the Jewish state in 70, many settled in Mauretania including part of modern-day Morocco.
In the 7th century the Jewish population of Mauretania received as a further accession from Iberian peninsula those who wished to escape west-Gothic legislation. At the end of the same century, at the time of the great Arab conquests in northwestern Africa, there were in Mauretania, according to the Arab historians, many Jews.

More about the history of the Jews in Morocco is found in External links and The Jews and "Mellah"

The Star of David, a Jewish symbol carved in sandstone on this portal in Jrayfat

Old building with the Jewish star

"The accession to the throne of Yazid, on the death of Mohammed III in 1789, led to a terrible massacre of the Moroccan Jews, having refused him their support in his fight with his brother for the succession".....

......... "In Mogador, strife arose between the Jews and the city judge on the one hand, and the Moorish citizens on the other; the dispute was over the question of Jewish garb. Finally the Jews were ordered to pay 100,000 piasters and three shiploads of gunpowder; and most of them were arrested and beaten daily until the payment was made. Many fled beforehand to Gibraltar or other places; some died as martyrs; and some accepted Islam."

"The condition of the Jews has always been better in Mogador than in many other parts of the empire, as the sultans—especially those of the Sherifian dynasty—in many instances favored them. An exception, however, was made in this respect by the sultan Muley Yazid, who in order to convert ten Jews of Mogador tortured them for ten days by repeatedly hanging them head downward in a dry cistern and bastinadoing them. When the news of the death of Muley Yazid came, some of them had expired and one had embraced Islam; the rest were set free."

Rabbis in Mogador

Yahya, from Agadir
Jacob Bibaz, from Rabat;
Abraham Coriat, author of "Sefer Zekut Abot" (went to Leghorn in 1793)
Hayyim Pinto (d. 1845)
David ibn al-Hazzan (d. 1828)
Joseph ben Jacob Almalih, called Joseph al-Kabir
(d. Jerusalem 1837)
Abraham Coriat II., author of "Sefer Berit Abot"
Joseph ben Aaron Almalih
Abraham ibn 'Attar
(d. 1882)
Moses Cohen (emigrated to the city of Morocco)
Abraham Sabah (d. 1903)
Judah ben Maniel, Mas'ud Knafo Joseph ibn 'Attar

Read more:




At the end of 19th century, the Jewish community in Essaouira amounted to 7700 people in the Mellah and 700 in the two Kasbah.

In the new constitution adopted in 2011 in the context of the Arab spring , his majesty King Mohammed VI established the "Hebrew distinctive charactreristic" of Morocco as " one of the age-old pieces " of "its national identity"" and he called for "the restauration of all the Jewish temples " in the Kingdom. Source: Le Guido - le magazine d' Essaouira. Edition media business Essaouira No. 38 2013

La reine de Mogador 1922

La Reine de Mogador 1922


Jewish musicians

Jewish musicians



"Jews first arrived to the land now known as Morocco over 2000 years ago. Protected under the Islamic Principle of Tolerance since the 7th century, they flourished, holding high positions in trade and government. The Star of David was a symbol shared by all Moroccans, appearing on currency and even the national flag. During the Holocaust, when asked for a list of Jews, King Mohammed V declared, “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan citizens.” Jews and Muslims were united by culture and kingdom."


A famous inhabitant of Essaouira, the adviser of the king to the foreign affairs, André Azoulay who is of Jewish confession, has said that his birthplace Essaouira is, “the single place in the Arab world equipped with a population mainly Jewish u