Previous posts in this discussion:
PostSpain, Mossad, and the Exodus of Moroccan Jews (Sasha Pack, USA, 01/12/22 10:55 am)
I have been reading Anthony Candil's posts on Spanish-Israel military collaborations with great interest I would just like to add an earlier example--one that is known to the historical literature, but was unknown at the time outside of Franco's innermost circle.
In 1956, Mossad established a base of operations secluded in the swamps around Gibraltar Bay to smuggle 25,000 Moroccan Jews into the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, whence they then were moved on to Israel. Emigration to Israel was illegal in newly independent Morocco, which was seeking to prove its anti-Zionist bona fides for Arab League membership. Zionism had not particularly taken root among Moroccan Jews hitherto, and the Moroccan government made it a priority to suppress Zionist propaganda. The sudden and spontaneous flight to Israel, and also to the Americas, in the years after 1956 gives a sense of the fear of impending disaster among Morocco's Jews.
JE comments: Sasha, another fascinating episode in the little-known story of Franco-Israeli relations (here I don't mean France; I mean Franco). Franco must certainly have known of Mossad's presence. Was he paid off to look the other way? "Encouraged" to do so by the Americans?
Emigration of Jewish Moroccans, and Spain's Role
(Anthony J Candil, USA
01/13/22 11:05 AM)
In response to Sasha Pack (January 12th), before anything I want you to know that despite being a very young officer in those days, I was pretty much involved in high places and in many confidential things, due to my knowledge of languages and not because I was an expert.
That's why I was fully involved in the early days of Spain in NATO and on different negotiations regarding military issues with other countries. The Spanish military never grasped much knowledge of foreign languages and my being fluent in English, French and Italian was pretty much appreciated. I owe that to my father, who had a clear vision of how the world should be.
Cooperation with Israel was certainly blessed by Franco but it wasn't too difficult. As I have mentioned, the Spanish Armed Forces were 90 percent pro-Israeli. Israel, among other things, procured certain items of equipment that Spain wanted but that other Allies preferred not to supply. Keep in mind that while Franco was still in power many Western countries did not want to deal much with Spain on the grounds of being a country ruled by a dictator, which amounts today to being a great hypocrisy. Spain was a country where Israeli officials moved freely, precisely due to the fact of not having diplomatic relations.
Returning specifically to Sasha's post, I didn't know about the establishment by "the Institute" of a base at Gibraltar to help Moroccan Jews escape into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and from there to Israel. I can tell you that I know the Jewish population within the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco was quite relevant.
My mother's family lived mostly in Spanish Morocco where they held possessions and properties until 1956 precisely when Morocco became independent as a country under the rule of King Mohammed V, grandfather of the current King. (My maternal grandfather was a civil engineer and architect who built much of the public works in the Spanish protectorate.)
I do recall my mother saying that she has many Jewish friends and she always spoke nicely of the Jewish community there. In other words, she had friends among the Jewish community but none on the Muslim side. Many of her Jewish friends relocated to Spain after Morocco's independence but others went to Israel.
The new Moroccan government mistreated the Jewish community. Keep in mind that Morocco declared war on Israel and even sent some troops to fight Israel on the Syrian front during the Yom Kippur war. (Morocco had sent troops to Egypt too when the Six-Day War erupted but they arrived after hostilities had ended)
I do realize, however, that my mother's family was not typical of the majority of Spaniards. I grew up feeling my mother's feelings towards Israel and those feelings are still deeply rooted inside me.
JE comments: I just checked, and Morocco's Jewish community now numbers barely over 2000, although it was nearly a quarter of a million in 1947. This despite (or because of?) independent Morocco's prohibition of Jewish emigration. Some sources say this measure was strictly due to the Jewish community's outsized importance in the economy.
Anthony, your father (whom I had the privilege of meeting) was a WAISly guy ahead of his time. There's no substitute for the mastery of languages!
Jewish "Re-Immigration" to Spain; My Doctor's Story
(Timothy Ashby, -Spain
01/14/22 4:24 AM)
My local private General Practitioner in Cala Ratjada, Mallorca, near where I live, is a woman in her late 60s named Doctora Moisés Dosal.
She told me that her family re-emigrated (note the "re-") to Spain from Morocco when she was a child, which would have been during the Franco regime. Other relatives emigrated to Israel. Her husband, who shares the practice with her, is named Dr. Serra Comas and is also Jewish.
Doctora Moisés has traced her family back to before 1492 when they fled to Morocco, and she said they had always practiced Judaism "even in the worst of times." She didn't know how many Jews lived in Spain currently but told me she had read that 20% of the modern Spanish population were of Jewish descent. She also said, rather proudly, that General Franco was Jewish. I have read of the latter rumour but have never seen any evidence for it. Perhaps some fellow WAISers may have researched this?
JE comments: We have three of the world's leading Franco authorities in the WAIS ranks, so you've asked at the right place, Tim! Franco certainly hated the "Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic" cabal, at least publicly, but this tells us nothing about his DNA.
The good Dra Moisés sounds like a fascinating person, who takes the long view when it comes to migration. Sources say that Spain's current Jewish population is some 50,000, most probably less, which surprises me. Wouldn't more old Sephardic families want to "return" to the homeland--especially since Spain is an awesome place to live?
- Jewish "Re-Immigration" to Spain; My Doctor's Story (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 01/14/22 4:24 AM)