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At the time of the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, ancient Jewish communities had existed in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa since Antiquity.Jews under Islamic rule were given the status of dhimmi, along with certain other pre-Islamic religious groups.While there is no concrete evidence of him actually taking any actions to defend Morocco's Jews, it has been argued that he may have worked on their behalf behind the scenes.In June 1948, soon after Israel was established and in the midst of the first Arab–Israeli war, violent anti-Jewish riots broke out in Oujda and Djerada, leading to deaths of 44 Jews.However, according to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Dr.Haim Saadon, "Relatively good ties between Jews and Muslims in North Africa during World War II stand in stark contrast to the treatment of their co-religionists by gentiles in Europe." As in Tunisia and Algeria, Moroccan Jews did not face large scale expulsion or outright asset confiscation or any similar government persecution during the period of exile, and Zionist agents were relatively allowed freedom of action to encourage emigration.

In Libya, the Axis powers established labor camps to which many Jews were forcibly deported.Through the early 1950s, Zionist organizations encouraged emigration, particularly in the poorer south of the country, seeing Moroccan Jews as valuable contributors to the Jewish State: The more I visited in these (Berber) villages and became acquainted with their Jewish inhabitants, the more I was convinced that these Jews constitute the best and most suitable human element for settlement in Israel's absorption centers.There were many positive aspects which I found among them: first and foremost, they all know (their agricultural) tasks, and their transfer to agricultural work in Israel will not involve physical and mental difficulties.The following century had a profound influence on the status of the Algerian Jews; following the 1870 "Décret Crémieux", they were elevated from the protected minority dhimmi status to French citizens of the colonial power.Morocco, which had remained independent during the 19th century, became a French protectorate in 1912.Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula were invited to settle in various parts of the Ottoman Empire, where they would often form a prosperous model minority of merchants acting as intermediaries for their Muslim rulers.

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